Be The Change

IMG_5577[1]With Lyme Disease in the media lately (we are ALL so incredibly GRATEFUL), I feel the need to write.  So, I am doing just that…….

Lyme Disease survivors have been fighting for change for so long.  I think it’s time to let the public know the REAL truth about Lyme Disease.  I want to be the change with this Disease.  I want to educate others.  I want to help fellow Lymies.  I want to raise as much awareness as possible.  I want to protect my sweet nieces and nephews.  I want to squeeze my husband tighter.  I want to feel like what normal used to be.  I want to raise as much awareness as possible.  So here are 3 facts and some real f***ing truth about Lyme Disease.

***There are between 300,000 and half a million new cases of Lyme Disease each year.  That makes Lyme Disease almost twice as common as breast cancer and six times more common than HIV/AIDS.

***Our current testing is only 50% accurate at best.

***Of the 14 members on the board who created the testing we STILL use today: 6 of them or their universities held patents on Lyme or its co-infections, 4 received funding from Lyme or co-infection test kit manufactures, 4 were paid by insurance companies to write Lyme policy guidelines or consult in Lyme legal cases, and 9 received money from Lyme disease vaccine manufactures.  Some of them were involved in more than one conflict.

I was once turned away from a hospital.  The doctor stated, “Your bloodwork shows a tick born illness, but we can’t help you and you need to leave.”  I had only been to the hospital for kidney stone surgery other than visiting others that were there.  EVER!!  I was told by a cardiologist that Lyme Disease was my doctors “bread and butter”.  He reluctantly put a holter monitor on me for a month to monitor my heart.  His nurse called me within the first few days.  Shocker!!  He wanted to see me because he saw some pretty alarming things.  THAT is some harsh truth about this debilitating disease and how we are treated by 99% of the medical community.   I have a lifetime of maintenance and restrictions.  There is no cure.  That’s a lifetime of relapses to fear and go through.  That is SO many of our realities.  That’s the thing.  We are all someone.  A daughter…a brother…a sister…an Aunt…a wife…a friend…a grandchild, and so much more.  Those of us living with Lyme Disease have been fighting for better testing for years.  We fight not only for us, but for you as well.  Better testing leads to proper diagnoses and treatment.

What if it were your daughter?  Wife?  Son?  Mom?  Best friend?  Lyme Disease is unfortunately an epidemic.  Our goal is to educate anyone who will listen, including our medical community in hopes that our loved ones never have to endure what we have.

In June of 2015 UAMS received a two year and over $400,000 grant to research Lyme in our state.  Their goal is to collect ticks from every county in Arkansas.  I believe we are starting to make an impact here in Arkansas.  We are off to a GREAT start and we will never stop fighting.  Fighting for our lives, educating our medical community, and SO much more.

How have I been?  Most days I am pretty good!  I am forever grateful for all of the amazing people who have supported me and continue to do so.  Some days I am in tears by the end of my work day because of the pain.  Some days I can tell you exactly where those bugs are at in my brain, but I remain positive (most days lol).  Thankfully those days have become few and far between.  Being happy is a choice that I strive to make every day.  I am a firm believer that your mental health definitely has an impact on your physical health.  It is empowering to know that we are  in control of our own happiness.  I don’t depend on others to make me feel a certain way.  It’s not about how many likes you get on a photo or anything else for that matter.  It’s about figuring out who you are and loving yourself no matter what life throws at you.  Some days I am angry and that’s okay.  Love your journey.  Make the best of it.  Be kind.  Be the change.  -Lindsey

*********If you pull a tick off, place it in a plastic bag.  I will send them in for you!!!  We so desperately need your help.**********

 

 

 

 

 

LYME DISEASE THROUGH THE EYES OF A FRIEND

I pulled the infected tick off of my best friend Lindsey while camping Memorial Day weekend 2014. Little did I know the journey to hell and back we were about to experience.  Not knowing and fully understanding a disease or illness is like entering a room filled with strangers, but you are supposed to know their names, faces and backgrounds. It’s overwhelming. It’s frightening.

 We were used to leading full lives filled with family, friends, work and travel.

 Busy, busy, busy.

 This girl, she could do it all and twice on Sunday. Her love for life and family was contagious. She was always the life of the party and a brilliant business woman. She’s my magical friend. 

 As I watched her diagnosis unfold, I saw a beautiful friend morph into something I’d never before seen or experienced. Rapidly her body turned against her. Every day a new symptom would take the place of a normal function. She was, within a month, immersed in a fight for her life. These bacteria were wreaking havoc on her body. Seizures, muscle spasm, facial drooping (like someone who’s had a stroke), high fever, meningitislike symptoms, flulike symptoms, migraines, vomiting, memory loss, and on and on. It happened so fast and just got worse. There were times I couldn’t believe she was able to stand or eat. What the hell has this stupid tick done to my friend?

 When she couldn’t remember day to day tasks or symptoms from just hours before, I knew I had to become aware of what we were dealing with. I had to become what I like to call an amateur expert on Lyme disease. I had to understand what this was doing to her body. I was fortunate to accompany Lindsey on Dr. visits. I took notes for her so when her memory failed her, she would know what the Dr. said. I learned so much from this Dr. He was the only person who knew and understood exactly what her body had to fight off inside her. She was definitely in a serious battle for her life.

 I started following Lyme update sites and survivors. I couldn’t believe so many people were left to deal with this on their own with no help from the community or medical field. I came across a post from a Lyme disease survivor, Patrick Plum, who now spends his every spare second spreading awareness, prevention and most of all kindness and support. He said “Chronic illness will show you two things very clearly:  The amazing compassion of some people you hardly know at all and the disgusting selfishness of some people you thought you knew very well.” This rocked me to my core. Lindsey was facing the same things in all facets of her life. I was stunned. How can this be? I’ve seen it with my own eyes. These people were all alone except for the few who stopped to listen and acknowledge their plight.

 I’ve heard so many times Lyme disease being referred to as an invisible disease.  Invisible????  I have to disagree. When you see your friend deteriorate mentally and every physical part of her being change, it’s only invisible to those who turn their head or are left outside the safe circle of self-preservation. She was only invisible to the public because you are no longer able to be public. It takes too much energy and there is no time when your days are filled with hours of treatment morning and night.  If you’ve seen what I have, there is no denying this disease eats you alive from the inside out.  Lindsey became very good at hiding her pain. This was easier for her to do instead of dealing with judgment and disbelief followed by the same questions over and over:  “So, you are better now right?”, “You look good today, I thought you were sick?”, “Can you even get that disease in Arkansas?”, “Is your immune system just really weak or something? “, “Shouldn’t you be better by now?”, “Aren’t you thankful you don’t have cancer?”

 I couldn’t make the pain go away,  so I started anticipating her needs, repeating conversations as though it were the first time we discussed something, making her laugh, staying positive in any way possible, listening to her, encouraging her, thinking of distractions, healing distractions.

 The best distraction for her was to take an air mattress outside and soak up the sun while either getting some much needed rest, listening to music or playing guitar. Vitamin D from the sun saved Lindsey on some of her darkest days (some terrifying times but I won’t get into the details). So thankful for the sun!!!! We started calling our time together Mop Girl moments (long story but the name has great meaning to us). We would take off our shoes and walk through the neighbors grass. If her legs weren’t moving that day, well, we sat on the couch and played Yahtzee.  Many a night we spent sitting in her carport, listening to music and dreaming of what we wanted to accomplish with our business. Anything to keep the positive force running through her we did.

My job as a friend became clear. Support, support, support. We were now hearing from small groups of strangers, clients, friends and kind local businesses that wanted to help her. She thrived on the positive. She pushed forward through the motivation of others. I had to help keep the momentum going in the quiet times.  I was now reminding her of her old self and what she was capable of doing in hard times. I wanted her to know she was still the full-of-life friend I loved so much. Her husband Aaron, is the coolest most caring dude I know (she won the lotto with that guy). He literally cared for her every single day. Flushing the central line in her chest, administering antibiotics, bathing her, cleaning up vomit on the reg. True unbiased love he showed.

 This guy is one hell of a human. He likes a good Mop Girl moment too!

 And if I talk about her parents, I’ll get all teary and lose my place while writing. Let’s just say these folks have a special kind of love and compassion. The strength and character they show in the toughest of times is profound.  I see where she gets her tenacity and drive.

 When finally the fog started to lift and her treatments were now starting to make a significant difference, she was on the move. She asked questions and followed everything her doctor said.  Because of her strength and perseverance, Lindsey mustered up more positivity and hope for her wellness. She started this blog to spread awareness but really she is sharing the light she has found in the dark.  She is the smartest, bravest and strongest person I’ve ever met. This chick is a bad ass.

 She was on to something you know. When you think about it, negative thoughts will feed any disease. Negativity and loneliness are the enemy. She needed positivity. She needed support. She needed what she had given me numerous times before, action without expectation.

 I’ve told more people than I can count about Lyme disease, ticks, prevention with DEET, what action to take if you have a tick bite. I got kind of crazy about it. Spreading awareness was the one thing I could do to make a difference. 

 I did this for her not because I’m selfless; I did it because of my selfish need to have my friend back and well. I didn’t want this to kill her. I couldn’t afford to lose her. We have plans for the future. We have more to experience.  I’m so thankful for her health. She has never let Lyme disease define her. I’m amazed by her willingness to find the truth, her power alone and singular, her drive to live.  She has no idea how much her journey has impacted me, but I’m inspired to live my best life because of her.  Be there for the people you love even if it’s hard and not ideal. Some of the best moments in life can come from experiencing some of the darkest.IMG_5332 (1).JPG 

Guitar Therapy

img_4431We all deal with hardships in different ways.  Some are healthy and some are not.  Some people run.  Some people eat.  Some people work harder while others give up.  Some people volunteer in their community and others don’t.  For me, it was some good ole guitar therapy.  I have always had such a strong connection with music.  I can sit for hours at a time just looking for and listening to new music.  Music has always been therapy for me.

I grew up with my dad playing and singing for us girls.  There are even videos of him playing for us while we were in our cribs.  My mom got this guitar for my Dad on their second wedding anniversary in 1977.  She hid it under their bed and still swears he was sneaking it out and playing it before she ever gave it to him.lol  After stealing my best friends guitar for a while (sorry Joi), my dad decided he would just leave his with me.  This was shortly after I started IV therapy.

I had terrible tremors for a few months.   For whatever reason, when I played the guitar, I had steady hands.  I would sit and play for hours a day.  There were many days Aaron would leave for work and come home to me being in the exact same spot.  Guitar in hand.  I have sent my Dad countless videos of me playing whatever it was that I had just taught myself.  I always send them and if he doesn’t respond in a timely manner I am calling him, “You  better check out that SUPER fast chord change I just did!” lol

Playing the guitar has gotten me through some of the darkest days of my treatment.  At first, I thought it was just going to keep me busy while I was at home going through treatment.  It quickly became my lifeline.  At times I played for hours for fear of falling asleep.  There were a few days I didn’t want to take the chance of going to sleep because I was so sick, I thought I might not wake up.  Some days I played for hours because it was just nice not to have that awful tremor.  Other days I played to keep from being depressed.  I desperately wanted to escape the physical and emotional pain that I was in, thanks to Lyme Disease.  The guitar became my happy place and I’ve been playing ever since.

I personally feel some of the greatest life lessons are learned as a result of going through something difficult.  I think it takes being in a bad relationship to REALLY appreciate the great ones.  I think it takes being super broke to REALLY appreciate having money.  I think it takes losing someone you love to REALLY appreciate the people you love now.  I think it takes being super sick to REALLY appreciate being healthy.

Be thankful.  Be happy.  Stay humble.  Have patience.  Those are just a few things I have learned the true meaning of within the last couple of years.  These last two years have been the toughest of my life, but I can honestly say I am happy.  I’m probably better mentally than I have ever been.  I choose to be happy each day.  Okay. Most days. lol

Everyone needs their own form of ‘guitar therapy’.  Whether you are going through something terrible at home, stressed out with work, upset about the election or facing health issues, find your happy place.  Take any negative energy and go put it to good use.  Volunteer in your community.  Help a stranger.  Go for a hike.  Volunteer at your local animal shelter.  I think during this particular time it is especially important to show kindness to others.  Look around.  There are amazing things happening every day.  You just have to be willing to see them to appreciate them. ~Lindsey

 

 

 

 

Killing Me Softly

Lyme Disease is often called an invisible illness.  For me, its the silent killer.  A person with this disease will only allow you to see what they want you to see.  I did this until it was absolutely impossible for me to do anymore.  I would lie about how bad I actually felt because I didn’t want to worry them.  I would get asked all the time how I was feeling and I sounded like a broken record, so I just started lying.

I have been so fortunate to get this amazing treatment by Dr. Jemsek.  I have come SO far and will continue to recover.  Lately I have been experiencing some symptoms again.  Before, I actually thought I would die abruptly from a seizure or my heart giving out because my resting heart rate was 155.  Now I am left with constant reminders of this disease with pain and various restrictions.  I feel like it is killing me softly at this point. (Yes. I love the Fugees. lol)  That’s the thing with this disease.  There is no cure.  There is only remission.  As soon as I started seeing the all too familiar signs I was angry.  I have not left that angry phase yet.  I am so angry that this will be my new normal.  I was very optimistic on how I would feel after treatment.  I wasn’t expecting to be in this much pain and still be this restricted on tons of things.

About a year ago someone sent me and article explaining the ‘spoon theory’.  Let me explain.  Say you have 10 spoons to get you through the entire day.  Every time you do something, you use a spoon.  You wake up and walk to the bathroom…..that’s one spoon.  You take a shower…..that’s THREE spoons.  You walk to your car…….that’s one spoon.  You park and walk into work…..two more spoons.  You have now used up 7 of your 10 spoons for the day and you haven’t even started work yet.  If you know someone dealing with an ‘invisible illness’ and see them out….please don’t make assumptions.  Just know that those are the days they are fighting the hardest.  Before I was diagnosed with Lyme, I didn’t know much about invisible illnesses.  Now I know.  I will do my best to educate others as best I can through this blog and my book.  I am determined to spread as much awareness as I possibly can for Lyme Disease.  Let’s all be more kind to each other and less judgmental of others.

I will be returning to see Dr. Jemsek in October and will know more on my treatment plan after that.  I keep reminding myself that I have come so far and  I am leaps and bounds past where I was.  My body is still fighting and healing and I am so thankful for that.  Even the most positive people are not positive all the time.  That’s real talk.  I’m learning that sometimes its okay to just not be okay.  So, today I am angry.

To all my fellow spoonies/Lymies……..There is no rule book for this disease.  Celebrate each victory no matter how big or small.  They are all milestones.  It’s okay to not be okay.  We will all have a new normal at some point in our journeys.  None of us are the same as we were before.  We are stronger now.  May be not physically yet, but mentally for sure.  We will all continue to kick ass and make Lyme our bitch. -Lindsey

 

From a Mother’s Perspective

Our family is no stranger to chronic disease.  Lyme Disease is a whole different ball game.  It is very difficult to wrap my head around invisible diseases.  I see my daughter as a beautiful, wonderful and vivacious young woman.  Lyme Disease is often called “The Invisible Illness”.  I have also learned that people with Lyme Disease will protect everyone, especially their loved ones, from the symptoms.  So, I warn you…..appearances are deceiving.  ‘Lymies’ will ONLY allow you to see what they want you to see until it is absolutely impossible for them.  Now, try to wrap your head around that and let it soak in.  I never knew the full extent of this disease until Lindsey was diagnosed.  Honestly, I became terrified and tried my best to hide it from Lindsey.  She was too smart for that! lol

As a mother, it is hard not to try and ‘fix’ or ‘make better’.  Nope.  Not this time.  Not going to work.  I will share a few symptoms Lindsey has shared with me.  1) Imagine your loved one telling you they were driving (to a place she drove on a daily basis) and got lost.  2) Imagine being told, “Mom. My brain was swelling so bad.  I thought my head was going to explode.”  3) I passed out at work. 4) I stood up and fell to the floor.  5)Her neck was SO hot to the touch all the time.   6) Imagine getting to the airport and realizing you are both at the wrong gate because your child is so confused and you didn’t realize it.  These are a few minor symptoms Lindsey allowed me to see.  Those symptoms were not minor to this mother.  This disease is unimaginable.  So many days and nights silent tears would fall while I was on the phone with her.  My heart actually hurt.  I have been told there will be some things I will read on this blog that I know nothing about.  Okay.  Kleex on standby. lol

I gave birth to Lindsey and she arrived with an unbreakable will.  I tried to break her will as a child and teenager.  Thankfully I failed.  I literally thought raising Lindsey would be the death of me.  lol  She is stubborn, hard headed, independent and determined.  I call these qualities attributes now and they have paid off BIG time in her fight against Lyme Disease.

People suffering with Lyme Disease need and deserve a fantastic support system.  I am not referring to just the medical staff.  Although, medical staff who understands Lyme is imperative.  A support system should not exclude anyone who will put words to actions.  Allow me to explain.  Don’t wait for a person with Lyme Disease (especially during treatment) tell you what they need.  If you think they need something don’t ask,  JUST DO IT.  They will either thank you or forget being mad (sorry Lindsey) at you for doing it.  So many times Lyme patients don’t need to be left alone during the darkest days of treatment due to the herxing.

Develop a support system that can be called at any time.  Support systems are vital to not only the Lyme patient, but also a huge help to the immediate family.  I can truly say when Lindsey’s husband said his vows for better or for worse he never saw Lyme Disease in their future.   Aaron has been by her side every moment.  I can not even begin to brag enough on him.  He has held her hand, wiped her tears, administered IV medications and fluids, oral medications, cooked and cleaned.  He has dealt with more vomit than I did as a mother to all THREE of my girls put together!  Aaron is worthy of a crown in my eyes!  I love him as my own child.  I have witnessed the love and concern he has for my Lindsey.  Then there is Joi.  Joi is a business partner to Lindsey, but more importantly her best friend.  There is no other person on this planet that could tell Lindsey the right side of her face was drooping and they both bust out into laughter.  Those two share a special bond.  I actually call Joi my fourth daughter.  Joi has witnessed far more symptoms than I have.  Joi once told me she thought she was going to watch her best friend die right in front of her.  I knew in that moment that things had gotten really bad.  When Joi  said she was afraid to leave Lindsey by herself….we went to our support system.  We called Joel.  Joel had begged me to call him anytime because he wanted to help.  Joel went and sat with her on many days and we are so thankful for him.

I wish I could clone Aaron and Joi for every person battling Lyme Disease.  I’m not quit sure this mother could have made it without them.  I am so thankful I share Lindsey’s support system with them, as a good support system is vital in the recovery when dealing with Lyme.  So, if you are dealing with someone you love battling this disease…….build a support system.  Stay in contact with each other so you all know the best needs of the ‘Lymie’.  Know that they can and will win this battle with Lyme.  ~T.J.

Knowledge is Power

IMG_4277I have experienced some pretty scary things throughout this journey.  Many symptoms people will never experience in a lifetime.  I can honestly say I am jealous of them because of the sheer fact they have never felt this stuff.  I never wish this on anyone.

I have been struggling to share this or not.  I decided it can only help those that are going through the same things.  So here you go…………  I have no memory.  None.  People ask me if its my short term memory or long term and I simply do not know how to answer that because it is ALL of it.  I don’t remember my childhood. I don’t  remember my wedding.   I don’t remember how my best friend used to smile before I got sick.  I don’t remember how I used to interact with my niece and nephews before I got sick.  I don’t know my role at work other than I own the place.  It’s the small things.  It’s the big things.  It’s everything.

I first found out that I didn’t and don’t  remember so much when my best friend was talking to me and she said, “Lindsey, remember when………” She told the story and I was trying really hard to remember, but I didn’t.  I only pretended I did.  After Aaron went to sleep I started silently crying.  I cried myself to sleep.  I thought, no way.  How could this happen?  No one prepared me for this.   Everyday I was meeting “new” people.

My best friend Joi and husband know me like the back of their hands.  It really is just as creepy as it sounds.lol  Imagine the most amazing, loving, giving, wipes my tears, holds my hand and is still HOT all at the same time……That’s my husband.  He is amazing.  Now imagine the most hilarious, beautiful, fun, giving, full of life and laughs at everything I laugh at person……………yep.  She is my best friend.  Every one has that one friend. She is more than “that” person to me.  She understands me on a level that I will be forever grateful for.

If these two knew nothing of my memory issues I was having, how were they supposed to help me.  By this point I have gotten pretty good at hiding certain things.   I am figuring out how to navigate through this and I think I am doing quite well with this particular situation.  Good news for you Lymie’s.  The things I can’t remember are not lost forever.  I will normally remember most things after a minute of someone explaining something.  Pictures have brought back a lot as well.  That makes me so happy.   Knowledge is power.  So let’s talk about how we can protect ourselves and the ones we love the most from this terrifying and debilitating disease.

I was covered in OFF Deep Woods when I got bit.  I am a magnet for mosquitos so I am ALWAYS covered in bug spray when I am outdoors.  My dad used to tell me they liked me so much because I was just too sweet. lol  I’ll go with that.  OFF Deep Woods only contains 40% DEET.  You need 100% DEET.  Put it only in key areas like your shoes, ankles, one spray on each arm and the top of your head if you are not wearing a hat.  Wear light colored clothing.  If you are wearing pants tuck them into your shoes.  Wear hats.  Ticks LOVE pine trees and will just fall down on you.  If you have been outdoors, do an immediate body and clothing check when you get back inside.  Knowledge is power when it comes to protecting/preventing any and all tick born illnesses.  The more awareness we raise, the more proactive we will all be in preventing this. ~Lindsey

 

 

 

Crawl Like a Champ

IMG_0058

Lyme Disease can effect many different parts of your body.  I often get the question, “So does it just feel like the worst flu ever?”  No.  Just no.  lol  Hopefully by sharing this story, along with many others, we can spread some awareness. I want to shed some light on what Lyme Disease really looks like so we can better protect the ones we love most.

I have done a total of 27 months of oral antibiotics, 27 months of natural supplements and 7 months IV antibiotics since I have been diagnosed.  I experienced many pretty scary symptoms throughout my treatment.  Killing the bacteria (that have now taken over) causes what is called a Herxheimer Reaction.  While we are killing these things off, they release toxins in your body.  Basically, for us Lymies, whatever symptoms you had before you can now multiply it by about 3700 billion. lol  When we are treating for Lyme you will feel a whole lot worse before feeling better, but there is no other option than to treat.  The longer you wait before getting treated, the harder it is to get on top of.

One morning,  while I was on IV treatment, I went to get out of bed to stand up.  My legs immediately collapsed beneath me.  No warning.  I just knew I found myself quickly on the floor.  Did I cry?  YES.

It was the first time I was realizing just how bad it had really gotten.  I was scared I would just be somewhere and collapse.  I was scared of what that meant was to come.  I was scared that it would happen and I would never be able to use my legs again.  I’ll be honest.  They hurt bad enough that I thought that was a possibility.  I think the fact that it(collapsing) actually happened, meant no more denial for me.  I worried and worried about this and came to the conclusion that worrying wasn’t going to get me anywhere.  So the second time it happened I just laughed and thought, ‘Well.  I am crawling like a champ.’  I was forced to learn the true importance of not stressing and being upset about the things I couldn’t do.  Instead, keep my eyes ONLY on the things I could do.  I may not be able to walk but dang.  I sure can crawl. lol

My advice to anyone going through something that is super tough and doesn’t seem possible to get through…….Crawl like a champ.

Keep your eyes at the end of that tunnel even if the light is so small you can barely see it.  Progress is progress no matter how big or small.  Focus on all of the things that are great in your life instead of the negative.  Laugh.  There is humor in almost every situation.  You just have to be willing to see it to appreciate it. ~Lindsey

***A sauna is an amazing way to get those toxins out fast.  Sit in for as long as you can handle it and immediately rinse off when you get out and make sure you have someone there with you.***

 

 

 

Feed or Fight

What a journey this has been for me and my family.  I hope some of the things I have learned a long the way will be of some help to others.

Diet is a huge part in the recovery for Lyme Disease.  When I say recovery, I mean from the day you get diagnosed until FOREVER. lol I struggled with this in the beginning.  I thought that I could still have a little sugar everyday.  Oh boy, was I WRONG.  Sugar feeds the bacteria.  So when you consume sugar in any form  (including anything that turns to sugar after you consume it), you are literally feeding the bacteria.

I have always had a saying. “Everything you are consuming is either feeding or fighting the disease.”  It is much easier for me to stick to my diet if I keep this in mind.  For me personally I was told to be gluten free, no sugar, no alcohol and no processed foods.  At first this seemed a little overwhelming and not possible for me.  I mean lets be honest.  I have a donut obsession.  It was nothing for me to eat eight glazed donuts in one sitting.  You read that right.  EIGHT.  Not to mention I LOVED my wine nights with my amazing friends.  Trust me.  If I can do this, anyone can.

I now eat only organic foods from the grocery store.  We go to local farmers markets for our produce.  I don’t consume anything with very much sugar.  I try to be as gluten free as possible.  I feed my body with healthy anti-inflammatory foods.  My doctor once told me to stay away from “the center” of the grocery store.  Don’t even go down the isles where all the canned goods and such are.  That part of the grocery store is only filled with processed junk.   Only buy from the outer portions of the store like the produce, butcher and dairy if you can have it.  I know a lot of people with Lyme are dairy free.  I consider myself super fortunate to still be able to have dairy.  Doesn’t cheese make EVERYTHING better???

Am I saying you must to stick to this diet 100% of the time.  No.  This is real life.  For me,  it was about finding a balance.  To think I could never have sugar of any kind again or another glass of wine was just downright depressing to me. lol  I will have a few bites of dark chocolate a week and 2 glasses of wine (red because less sugar) per week or two.  98% of the time I am sticking to my diet though.  I feel my best (symptom wise) if I am consuming healthy things.  Fighting not feeding.

If you are just starting out with diet change or have been doing it for a long time like I have, just remember not to beat yourself up.  This isn’t easy or everyone would be doing it.  Start with small changes if you have to.  Progress is progress no matter what.  I promise the longer you are doing this the better you will feel.  Please feel free to ask any questions or comment your tips as well.