Hope & Healing
Since 2017 when I overcame lyme disease and thyroid issues, friends and family have connected me with people in their lives with ongoing health issues, undiagnosed conditions where the doctors are scratching their heads, or those who are searching for answers because status quo isn't where they want to stay. Yesterday two friends connected with me to learn more about my story of healing, which prompted this post. One is dealing with debilitating symptoms and has uncontrolled health conditions, and the other has a friend whose daughter is in a similar boat. When I receive these types of calls I never quite know where to start because so many things transpired. How do I convey the important parts? And if I were to jump to the end and tell them the last thing I did that completed my healing, I feel that there are important parts of my journey to healing that I'd miss. I decided to write this post so that I can convey, with clarity, the components that were involved in my healing process. Keep in mind that each individual's journey is specific to them, and there is no one size fits all approach. The main reason for sharing my story here is to give anyone who is dealing with chronic illness hope, which is something that was incredibly helpful to me.
This is a really long post, but is intended for anyone dealing with health issues or has a loved one whose life is on hold due to debilitating symptoms. If you or a loved one is on a similar journey, this story of hope and healing is for you. By sharing my story I'm not making recommendations or giving advice, this is simply for you to see what's possible when you believe. And no matter where you are, there's no requirement for you to stay there. With an open heart and mind, answers present themselves in unassuming ways, and change is possible.
At one point in my life the word healing felt untouchable to me. What does it really even mean? I came from a traditional medical background where the focus was on managing health issues, or cutting them out if surgery was required. When I was introduced to an alternative option for my own health issues, my instinct was to run. My desired response was to turn the other way and run as fast as I could, blocking my ears and yelling "la la la la la" so that I wouldn't hear what was being said. My head told me to run, but my heart urged me to listen. I say heart, but it physically shows up as a gut feeling. Looking back, the first thing I did right was to have faith, and trust my gut. I learned through trial and error that in order to heal I had to address my body, mind, and spirit. They are all interconnected and important. Ignoring one of them is the equivalent to forgetting to plug the TV in and wondering why it wont work.
Let's start with the body. It's the part I focused on first, although the other two were in play at the time. On April 28, 2017 I found myself talking with a friend at a cookout at the lake. She had recently been confined to a wheelchair, and when I asked what had happened, she said that one day she went out to get the mail and couldn't walk back into the house. She said that she was doing a protocol for lyme disease, and was fortunate in that she had a few friends who had already healed from it. At the time I was being medically treated for a thyroid issue. It was stabilized, but my symptoms were through the roof. It had led me to investigate the root cause because I wanted to know where this all originated since the thyroid didn't appear to be the only part at play. I was experiencing a number of symptoms, and I even purchased the URL “Undiagnosed” and imagined writing a book one day because the life I was living had a crazy story to tell. As my friend told me her symptoms and those of friends with lyme, it my attention. My symptoms were debilitating and scary, and ranged from chronic fatigue, ringing in the ears, RLS symptoms, arthritis symptoms, pain all over my body, and uneven balance, to the inability to finish a thought. Word recall was an issue, and the ability to communicate with my family was at an all-time low. I feared that I was losing cognitive function, and I didn't tell my family or friends everything that was going on because I was afraid they would think I was going crazy. Some symptoms were constant, while others came and went. Some days I could run around the block, while other days I counted the hours until I could call it a day and go to sleep for the night.
After opening-up to my friend, she urged me to get tested because she thought I might have lyme. It took me a week to agree to do the non-traditional testing she had done. Why? Because I came from a traditional medical background and she suggested bioenergetic testing. Sounds crazy, right. It did to me. I realize now thought that the stakes were actually higher for me not to do the test. It's difficult to explain, but everything about taking the test felt right, even though there was no hard data to support it. Trust me, I scoured the internet for "said" data, but it just wasn't there. I kept coming back to two things. First, I knew of numerous people who had fully recovered as a result of doing the non-traditional testing and protocol, so the evidence was there even if there was no scientific data. And second, I couldn't ignore my gut. I had been praying and searching for answers. What if I was being presented with the answer I had been asking for and I ignored it. What if? I simply couldn't ignore the call from my heart.
In the next few weeks I called Longevity Health Center, did the test via mail, and found out that I had lyme spirochete and 5 coinfections, dormant viruses, and a number of my organs were stressed (immune system, thyroid, adrenals, gut, and liver to name a few). I started the protocol on May 17th. I make it all sound so easy, but making the decision to do the protocol was challenging for me, and after days of second-guessing myself my sister finally said "what do you have to lose." She was right. I was in such bad shape that I really didn't have anything to lose.
I don't mention Longevity's name to advertise their services or to tell anyone to go to them, I mention their name because these amazingly caring individuals changed my life. They gave me my life back! I worked with Christina, Liz and Dr Anderson, and I am eternally grateful for their enduring hearts. They told me that I would be free of lyme in 6 to 9 months, and they were right. They were so incredibly kind and willingly gave me their time. I will never forget the first conversation with Liz after she sent me the test results. She answered all of the questions I had and met me at the level I was at. I wanted to understand the physiology and she was willing and able to explain how the protocol worked to combat the nasty bacteria. Liz believed I'd get better, and my decision to do the protocol was accompanied by my own belief that I would recover from lyme once she shared her confidence in my recovery. What I didn't realize then, but know now is that the belief that I'd get better is the fuel that kept the fire going. It's the one thing that kept me going through the difficult days, and I know it's the biggest key to healing.
There were three components to the protocol. A homeopathic detox, natural remedies to kill the spirochetes (lyme), and an incredibly important component; supplements to support my stressed organs. Doing the protocol was simple, but my symptoms worsened before they got better, so it was a tough 7 months. On December 13, 2017 I travelled down to Longevity for my final test, and was told by both Christina and Dr Anderson that I had cleared lyme and all the coinfections. It felt amazing, and I will forever be eternally grateful to these beautiful souls who make it their life's work to change lives. I appreciate them and Liz being there for me every step of the way. Having practitioners who I could trust made a big difference in the journey and made it a little easier to endure.
In a nutshell, I had viruses and bacteria in my body, and as soon as I eliminated them and supported my organs with the supplements I needed, my thyroid issue reversed. Today I am off my thyroid medicine. I came off it under the care of my physician. I do not recommend making any adjustments to medicine without working very closely with a physician. Addressing my thyroid was a necessary and important part of my journey, and I am so grateful to my physician who initially uncovered it. When people ask me about overcoming health issues, the first thing I tell them is that it's incredibly important to work with a physician to evaluate what's going on, and to address the issues in their body. The healthcare field has changed over the past 10 or so years, and functional medicine doctors are becoming more and more popular. I have seen both, it depends on one's preference.
Let's talk about the spirit. This is a really big one. About two months into my Longevity protocol a couple of things happened to me that would take me a couple of years to fully understand. It was mid-July and as I walked out of the bathroom one morning I stopped because my image in the mirror caught my attention. I stopped in awe. I saw a face in the mirror that I hadn’t seen in over 4 decades, and I felt love. I had spent most of my life disliking who I was, and for the first time in over 40 years I really saw myself and loved the person I saw. It is a moment I will never forget. I had been hiding behind a facade for so many years that I had forgotten who I really was, and that moment shifted so much in me as I saw the real me. A few days later I was driving past Sycamore Elementary school. I was approaching the traffic light and I realized that I wasn’t thinking about anything. For the first time in a long time I didn’t have a thought in my mind. I wasn't recalling my to do list, planning, fixing, or thinking about my symptoms. It was simply AMAZING. I’ve come to learn that not having any thoughts in your mind is what it means to be still. I had spent years hearing the word at church but never truly comprehended it. The beautiful thing is that it just came to me when I least expected it.
That moment of complete stillness left me asking how, and led me on a journey of discovery. In that moment I felt more alive than I had in years. And it was that moment that gave me a spark of energy that fueled me for the next few months of physical pain. In that moment I knew that this was a part of a bigger picture, and this chapter in my life wasn’t my full story, it was just a chapter. However, just as one chapter builds important parts of a story that are a set-up to the next chapter, that moment and that chapter in my journey we’re teaching me the things I needed to know so that I could be ready for my next chapter. Those two moments that I will never forget were the beginning of me learning to connect with my soul and honor it. I had spent so many years living the hustle and bustle of life, and I wasn’t honoring my soul because I didn’t even like myself. There were things in my life that needed to change, and walking the path of chronic illness with my life on hold and those two special moments changed me for the better. So I guess what I’m trying to convey here is that I found meaning through my illness, and accepting the journey is a part of what led me to my healing. At the time I didn't fully realize that I was growing spiritually. I spent alot of time praying for healing, but there were so many little things that happened that I wasn't aware of. I'd piece it all together over the next couple of years though. Divine timing comes to mind as I write this part, and there are so many things I learned that what I've mentioned here barely touches the surface.
The third component of healing is the mind. Although I address it last, I feel that it’s an important part because without addressing the mind, the body doesn’t heal, and the spirit remains hidden. I overcame lyme and thyroid issues at the end of 2017, but for the next year I continued to have mild symptoms. The biggest issue that arose was that when stress hit I'd physically hit a wall. By "hit a wall" I mean that I'd have to resort to taking naps every afternoon just to get through the day. I felt fatigued and didn't handle life's stressors very well. When I was originally diagnosed with thyroid issues I was told to reduce stress. Here I was; my thyroid issues were gone but the threat of their return dangled above my head because I couldn't do the simple thing more than one doctor had told me to do. I wondered how to get back to that moment of stillness in front of the school that sweltering day in July 2017 numerous times that year. I actually missed being sick because when I was ill life was slower. It’s actually a known fact that many people hold onto their illness, and I can relate.
I was still being affected by stress, and since life will always throws us curveballs, I had to figure out how to reduce it. In December 2018 we travelled to Palm Springs, CA. The Christmas season had been busy and stressful and a couple of days after we arrived there I collapsed in a heap. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. I hit a wall, and my anxiety had returned. One evening I sat talking with my husband and sobbed. I felt so frustrated to have hit a wall again, and I told him that I had to find a way to reduce stress. By that time I knew that stress is what had originally made me sick. It had a weakened immune system, and that's when lyme reared its ugly head. I was scared that I’d end up with chronic illness again if I didn’t learn to manage stress. I guess that evening was my cry for answers and an indication that I was ready for them because a couple of weeks later I listened to a podcast that changed my life. Years before I would have turned it off, but at 3am after being up all night with my husband who was battling insomnia, I knew I had to listen. Eckhart Tolle was explaining his book “A New Earth” to Oprah, and he described stillness. I realized in that moment that the moment I had had a year and a half earlier in front of the school, the moment I wished for every day since, was something you can do any time. You just have to know how. In a dark hour on a freezing cold night that January, I was presented with answers I had been searching for. It not only ignited my interest in studying the mind, but it activated my ability to begin to actively honor my soul. Simply put, the two are intertwined and impact one another.
That morning marked the end of a chapter. I used simple yet powerful tools, and became a sponge, seeking to learn all I could learn. Within two weeks I managed to reduce stress and found stillness each and every day. I became less anxious and life was simply amazing. I became a serious student, and over the next few months in the process of learning and applying what I had learned, I retrained my brain and repaired my limbic system. The last few lingering symptoms disappeared, and that spring I announced to Rick that I had to find a way to teach others what I had learned so that they could also learn to effectively reduce stress.
I had overcome lyme and thyroid issues a year earlier, but it wasn’t until I addressed the mind, which directly impacted my spirit, that I fully healed. I recognize that I addressed the body, mind, and spirit interchangeably, but it wasn't until I understood the moving parts that I was able to solidify change. For the first time in years I wasn’t in stress response mode 24/7. I wasn’t super sensitive anymore and instead of reacting to situations, I learned to respond to them. The amazing thing is that it all happened pretty quickly once I aligned my body, mind, and spirit.
There are many moving parts to this puzzle. Each part is important, and we all put the puzzle together differently, but at the end of the day I'm here to tell you that it is possible to complete the puzzle.... it IS possible to heal. The most important part is a willingness to approach things with an open mind, see things from a different perspective, and open your heart. The journey to healing varies for everyone, but it is possible. And the irony this morning is that it’s 10:32am and as I type this post my husband is still asleep.
I’ve not only experienced my own journey of healing, but I'm witnessing my husband's healing too. And as tough as my journey was, I have to admit that seeing my husband go through it has felt really hard. I have much compassion for anyone who is dealing with health issues and also those who are standing by witnessing a loved one endure the pain. Both are difficult, but in different ways. And that's why I'm passionate about the work I do. I am grateful for the journey we have both been on because we’ve experienced amazing changes individually and together, and have grown spiritually. We are still growing every single day. God has guided us, and walking this path has shown us that it's important to be still and listen to your heart because it will guide you. The right people were placed on our path at the right time, and I encourage you to be aware of the people and things that appear in your life. When you least expect it answers will be revealed. And when they, do pay attention to them. I realize that it’s impossible to convey everything in a blog post, but hopefully sharing a summary of my journey to healing will give you hope, and allow you to see that healing is possible.