By: Saiward Turnbaugh
Years of dealing with an illness can have us becoming “experts” on information we may never have wanted to even know. But sometimes, no matter how much we know, we let things slip through the cracks as we grow tired of the same routine day after day. Here are a few of the common mistakes that seasoned Lymies can make and a couple of ways to get back on track.
- Get a Pill Organizer, Day Calendar, or an app for your phone.
I think we all have had that moment you realize you have no idea what time you took your last round of abx. Did you even take your last round? Can you take your probiotics yet? Hand to the forehead, ugh. Being on several medications at one time has its laundry list of issues. Can you take this with that? On an empty stomach or with food? How to fit all the hours and hours in between into a span of a day? Anxiety. That’s what that brings. But you don’t need it. Grab your pill sorters or whatever method works for you and get sorting! Really, the easiest way to stay on schedule is to start off by making a schedule. Because, as much as you may try to not conform to a scheduled routine, being a Lymie, unfortunately, involves sticking to a pretty strict one. So invent a system that works for you; reminders on your phone, a check list each day complete with times, a pill sorter or two, a sticker or other indicator to give yourself after you take each round of meds or supplements. Whatever it takes to stay on track, do it. It pays off in the end.
- Take Antibiotics 2 Hours Away from Supplements.
Ingredients in antibiotics and supplements bind together and cause issues like elevated liver enzymes. Space things out and give your body time to absorb. If you take charcoal, take it 2 hours away from any food or medication so you are not absorbing medication instead of toxins.
- Detoxing – Find the golden balance.
Detoxing can be tricky. I hear a lot of, “Make sure you detox.” “Don’t overdo it with detoxing.”My reaction is to throw my hands on the sides of my face and scream. Detoxing overwhelmed me at first but if you are creating excess toxins, you have to get them out. Work detoxing into your daily schedule.
But what is the right amount? In the end, it’s what works for you.
- A good rule of thumb is to detox as heavily as you are treating. Your treatment protocols change and so should your detoxing methods/frequencies.
- Keep in mind that certain detoxes require you to do them a given time after/before food or medications, etc. As we mentioned, don’t mix charcoal with medications, magnesium with antibiotics, or other bad combos.
- Drink lots of water. The body needs hydration to support the detox process. Plus, bonus!, drinking plenty of water is a detox in itself, as it helps to flush out the toxins.
- Another thing to remember is that while detoxing can help fight off a Herxheimer Reaction, detoxing too much/too quickly can cause one as well. Certain detoxes, if done in excess can cause a die off of spirochetes. For example, taking too hot of an Epsom salt bath can actually kill spirochetes and induce a herx. Apple Cider Vinegar can also be a herx culprit for people dealing with Canadidia as it is an antifungal.
- Do a variety of detoxes. Various types of detoxes may focus on certain areas of the body. Pinella is a good nerve and brain cleanse, Apple Cider Vinegar helps to alkalize the body, Epsom salt baths are a wonder when experiencing joint, muscle/ all over body pain or if you find yourself in a long herx. Dry skin brushing helps to clear the pores of debris and stimulates the lymphatic system, thus allowing toxins to exit to body easier. There are tons of great detoxing options.
- Detox Your Liver: Your liver filters the toxins out of the body so while treating, it’s very easy for our livers to get overburdened. Make sure you are actively taking supplements to help keep the liver working and clean. Milk Thistle is a great herb that helps clean out the liver and bonus, it also aids in maintaining healthy kidney function.
The bottom line is to know your detox methods, your body and the treatment protocol you are on and detox accordingly. Don’t forget to detox! Daily!
- Stop overdoing it and always keep a spoon in your back-pocket.
This is a huge “duh”. But is something we all forget. We can almost get used to the everyday struggles of dealing with a chronic illness that we push ourselves too hard at times. Maybe there are deadlines to meet or everything just keeps piling up or maybe you are just over everything and need to let loose. Whatever it may be, you push yourself past your spoon limit and end up, staring at the ingredients to make your favorite smoothie bowl and bam! No more spoons left. The contents, lined up on the counter, beckon you to put them in the blender, but you just can’t seem to get your arms, much less your hands to move. Options race through your mind, forego the blender and just throw the ingredients into a bowl and go for it? That makes you cringe as Spirulina powder, not hidden in a smoothie or mixed well in a drink, is just gross. Plus, it sticks to the roof of your mouth… believe me, I have tried this option before, not recommended. So, that’s out. Put everything back and go to bed? Nope, hunger calls. Push through and use your last spoon to make the smoothie? Yup. So, you do it and as you finally sit down in front of a highly anticipated, delicious looking smoothie bowl, you find you have no more energy left to even eat. You have used up all your spoons for the day. You are depleted, drooling, for a minute you consider just going in face first and that’s when you realize your mistake. You need a spoon to eat. So how do you save yourself from face diving into a smoothie bowl? Conserve the spoons! Keep reading, more encouragement follows…
- Listen to Your body, it tells you what you everything you need to know, so listen to it!
With exercise, medication, etc, pay attention to what is working and not working for you. Remember to take breaks/naps when possible and, one of the hardest things to do, ask for help. I was having a “functioning day” where I was out of bed and able to leave my house. I went out with three errands in mind. I planned the most energy efficient, direct route to accomplish these errands but when I got to errand number three, I found that I was rapidly approaching my limit for the day and was starting to drift into thoughts of my bed. The third errand was directly across from the second, literally, they share a parking lot.. but after a couple of minutes sitting in my car and staring at the building of the third errand, I decided to forego it and come back another day. I was afraid if I completed my third errand, I wouldn’t have enough spoons left to drive home. As it turned out, I made the right choice. It’s hard not being able to do things that were once second nature. But instead of beating myself up over it, I decided to give myself a pat on the back about what I did accomplish that day. Turning grumbles into praise gave me the extra boost I needed to bring my bags in from my car and put the items away after the two errands that I did accomplish. A positive attitude goes a long way.
- Take Care of You. This is a tough one but it is one of the greatest importance.
We work all day at taking care of ourselves physically but when it comes to taking care of our mental well-being, that can be easily forgotten. It should not be! We are so often alone as we battle Lyme and Co-Infections, that loneliness can easily sneak in to settle. Lyme can take us deep into dark places we didn’t know existed within us and leave us there. Try to remember, that it’s okay, and if it isn’t, it will be. Take the get in/get out approach and don’t stay in the dark. I have struggled with finding my way out of the dark places within me. Over time and through various therapies; a therapist, a shamanic healer, friends, books, self-reflection, meditation and gratefulness, I have found my way out. Now I use the darkness to learn and grow, I use the darkness to find the light. But it took me awhile and a lot of help to get here.
- Pick Your Tribe Carefully.
Use your support group(s), in person and/or online. Reach out when you can and be there for others. This can be challenging and most likely will require one or some of your spoons but it is vital. If you find yourself without a friend, make some friends in the Lyme world. When I finally stuck my hand into the Lymie community, fellow Lymies reached out and shook it with welcome. I connected with people online through Facebook, Instagram and various Lyme groups. I also found people living near me who had Lyme and became friends with them. Just keep in mind that friendships require effort and understanding from both sides. I still feel alone and isolated at times, I’m not sure that is one hundred percent escapable with Lyme, so I added professionals into the support group I made for myself. If you don’t already have a therapist, coach, healer, or spiritual guide, consider finding one. They are great additions to any established support system you may have in place and will keep you going strong and moving forward as they have for me. Some will even skype or speak on the phone with you. Remember not all therapies and/or groups are right for you so choose carefully.
Being involved with others in the Lyme world is fantastic but there is a cautionary warning that comes with overdoing it. We can get caught up in them. Especially when you have been doing this for so long and all your FB feed consists of is posts about Lyme disease, co-infections, mold, EBV… it’s enough to give you a panic attack as you scroll down. Mix it up, follow some positivity, nature or baby animal pages. Keep some “normalcy” in your life. And remember to take a step back from everything Lyme from time to time. Lyme is exhausting, on every single level so be compassionate both to yourself and to others.
- Never Give Up.
With all the challenges that face Lyme it is so easy to want to give up. But don’t do it. Many people suffering from chronic Lyme disease go a year or years without signs of improvement. It takes time. Lots and lots of time. Keep at it. Become your own cheerleader and give yourself the “you can do it” pep talks. Because what’s the alternative? Don’t answer that. Just keep pushing through. Through the ups and downs, the plateaus and more of the downs, keep going. Ups will come. Find words that motivate you to keep going. I like to think about certain inspirational quotes and song lyrics. If you are stuck, use one of my favorites, “On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far, is 100% and that’s pretty good.” – Author Unknown