Fun Girlie Lyme Tip :-)

Hey Ya’ll! 

So I thought I’d do just a FUN post today about nails! 😉  What girl doesn’t like her nails super pretty?!     I’m definitely no exception and after doing my nails yesterday I thought I should do a blogpost about them. 😀  So, if you like girlie things like me, continue reading.  If girlie things bore you, then feel free to skip this post. 😉

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Once a Ballerina….always a Ballerina. 😉  Hence, the ballet slipper nails. 

 “I don’t ever remember seeing you without your nails painted!” my friend Heather who I’ve known since I was 5 years old told me on a RARE nails-not-done-kinda-day.  So, with that background in mind you can imagine how awful it was for me when my weekend tradition of painting my nails had to be placed on hold because the Lyme Disease was causing lots of pretty major chemical sensitives and yes, nail polish was one of them.  It was during one of my really bad lyme flare ups about 2 years ago when I googled “non-toxic nail polish” to see if there were any other options out there.  Up until then nail polish had always been fine, but then I started reacting to the fumes and having mini “lyme attack/seizures” when I tried to paint my nails.  I found the Jamberry website and LOVED all the super cute nail  stickers, but I especially loved them because there were no bad chemical fumes that came in addition to the cuteness. At the time, all of our extra money was going towards my medical treatments so I decided to just put Jamberry nails in the back of my mind for a Christmas or Birthday wish-list.  About 2 weeks later I got an e-mail for a super sweet out of state friend, Mollie asking if she could mail me some Jamberry nail stickers as a gift.  It touched my heart SO much!  Here she was, not knowing me very well since we had only met maybe twice, and yet she was sending me a gift that I had secretly been wanting.  I TOTALLY felt God’s love for me – in the fact that He created me as a girl who loves to be girlie and even though I was at that point too sick to walk or barely sit up and too sick to handle the fumes from nail polish, He was going to send me nail stickers through Mollie so I could still enjoy having pretty nails. 😉  It might sound silly to some of you….but to me it was yet another reminder that HE CARES about everything that matter to us, from the smallest thing to the largest thing. ❤  It’s well over two years later and I still love Jamberry nails.  My body is in a MUCH stronger and healthier state now so I’m back to using my regular nail polish most of the time but I still love to switch up my nail looks with Jamberry from time to time. 🙂

SO, why am I sharing all of this on my blog??  Because I know a lot of people read this that are struggling with lyme disease or other chronic illnesses and many times nail polish, like it was for me, is too strong of a chemical smell for people to handle. Well, Jamberry can fix that! 😉  Here’s for you girls needing something safe and healthy for your nails….and for the family or friends of a girl who is fighting a chronic illness.  Definitely a great gift! ❤  (If you’re interested you can look up a consultant in your area by going to www.jamberry.com )

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These ballet slipper Jamberry nails were given to me by my dear friends, Heather & Gina….thank you, girls!  (PC: Adam DeMass – www.artthunder.com

Alright dear ones,  hope you have a beautiful day in HIS love and may His sufficient grace wash over you every moment. ❤  Thank you for your love, encouragement and prayers!!!  You are all so treasured by me.

“…No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” ~Psalms 84:11 

Love,

Monica

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He Fulfills His Promises <3

“…God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, *AS HE PROMISED*.” ~Acts 13:23 || Thank You for ALWAYS fulfilling Your promises, Jesus. —– I feel like this year, more than ever before God has been opening up my eyes to see how OVER & OVER & OVER He FULFILLS His promises. Never once has He forgotten… He said it. I believe it….whether I *feel* like believing it or not based on what I see...no matter what, It’ll come to pass! Resting in His precious promises tonight. Had a couple medical appointments earlier today….making progress…but still have a lot of work to do treatment wise. Felt pretty weak today….but thanking Jesus for HIS strength, joy, grace and faithfulness that keeps me encouraged, hopeful and full of His perseverance to keep on keeping on. Thanks for your continued prayers on this journey, friends! Definitely sending all the prayers back your way as well.

The Perfect Gift…<3

I don’t have a whole lot of energy for writing tonight…I’ve been so sick today and wishing I could curl up in a little ball and sleep until all of this Lyme pain and symptoms and fight to get well is over.  But since that can’t happen…I’m curled up in a little ball resting by my big sliding glass door in my bedroom watching all the storm clouds roll past and playing one of my favorite collections of music. It’s a Lullaby CD entitled, Hidden in My Heart Volume 2.  My dear friend, Ruthann, gave me the CD back in 2012 and I’m pretty sure I have listened to these songs 100’s of times by now.  It was the PERFECT gift for me and I’ve spent so many hours just listening to them with my eyes closed just letting the truths & hope sink into my heart and renew my spirit. The songs are so precious, beautiful, full of comfort, hope and have a very calming sense to them.  If you’re looking for a good CD to get for yourself as you battle a chronic illness….OR if you are looking for a gift for someone who is sick.  I’d HIGHLY recommend this one.  I wanted to share one of the songs that has been on repeat this afternoon as I lay here hooked up to wires doing Lyme Treatment.  Love this song right now. ❤

 

Love and prayers to everyone!   I have been slightly overwhelmed (in a good way) by the amount of e-mails and responses I’ve received from my last post, “But You Don’t Look Sick…”  It breaks my heart just HOW MANY of you are out there that can relate so perfectly to that post and I want you to know that I’m praying for you and will reply when I can. ❤  Keep fighting and resting in Jesus, dear brave hearts.  One day closer.  Keep your eyes on Jesus….Jehovah Rapha…the Lord OUR HEALER. ❤  He’s got this. Just keep resting and trusting. ❤

 

Love Always,

Monica

But You Don’t Look Sick…

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Let me just start out by saying that this is an EXTREMELY difficult post for me to write and possibly even harder post for me to publish. This isn’t the type of post I like to write or want to write.  I’ve been told I “sugar-coat” my updates too often…so this is one that isn’t going to be “sugar-coated”.  It involves being very real, very blunt and very graphic.  I’ve avoided writing a post on this topic on purpose. Its painful to write about things that hurt…but I think it’s necessary.  Why?  Well, one of the reasons is because I’ve heard from SO many people that reading my posts is like I’m telling their story & what they experience…only they don’t know how to write it or can’t.  I write for them.  Another reason is to help people who don’t have Lyme understand what it’s like so they can better encourage and support their friends/loved ones.  I write for them.  And the last reason is because I don’t want to forget these moments of intense fighting….and I know I will. I’ve talked to people who are now Lyme-Free who don’t remember the hard years of fighting unless a family member reminds them.  And they’ve told me to write about it….in case someday I too, forget.  Sometimes intense physical pain is blocked from one’s memory…and I think this is a good thing.  I wouldn’t mind forgetting honestly…but I do think there is a reason God is having me document my story.  And the best way is writing about it when it’s fresh…especially in case I forget someday.

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Ugh! Okay…LOL…I’m already starting to cry before I write this post.  It brings with it so many emotions to the surface…deep ones.

 

Tonight was another RUDE awakening of how real this fight with Lyme still is.  One minute I’m TOTALLY fine juicing up a delicious honey-dew/lime electrolyte drink and the next I’m shaking so bad I can’t stop, gasping for air with the sensation like I’m suffocating, vision going in and out, body completely limp, heart racing a million miles a second (SUPER uncomfortable feeling), the pain….ugh….can’t even begin to know where or how to describe it.  Every part of my body is shaking. It hits suddenly and slowly.  Suddenly because it LITERALLY feels like an “on” switch to feeling good just got turned “off”. Slowly the “energy light” of my body flickers off over a 1-2, maybe 5 minute period. I know instinctively to get to a couch and lay down IMMEDIATELY before the “light” flickers off completely and walking is no longer an option.  The confusion…the dizziness…trying to calm the panicking feeling inside of me…focusing on Jesus and His Scriptures as much as possible.   It’s like a downward spiral that feels like it lasts ages.  It feels like I’m dying…I know that sounds horrible but I don’t know any other way of saying it other then it feels like my body is literally shutting down.  Today the intense part probably only lasted 10 minutes total….but in the past it’s been an upwards of days…   I feel like screaming….yelling…crying…but I rarely, if ever cry.  Too much energy.  Sometimes the tears quietly trickle down…but crying seems to make it even worse so I avoid that whenever I can. And I don’t scream or yell…even though the pain makes me feel like I could.  It’s a terrifying experience to say the least.  I call them “Lyme Attacks” or “Lyme Seizures”.  This is VERY common among people with late-stage Lyme Disease. When it passes I slowly feel a release of symptoms. If I try to get up and walk it’s more of a limp than a walk and I usually have to hold on to things.  My balance is majorly thrown off and I usually don’t feel too safe walking unless I have someone to lean on.  It’s just crazy to me that an hour before I was so strong and even contemplating trying to do another mile walk…..and then hardly even being able to stand one short hour later.  It’s in those moments that can be scary and frustrating and hard and lonely and debilitating and painful and long and seemingly never-ending that Jesus is there. ❤  He’s there in SUCH a real way.  “NEVER will I leave you. NEVER will I forsake you.”  His Word hidden in my heart comes back to my mind…and He brings peace.  Honestly, I don’t have panic attacks when I know a “Lyme Attack” is striking….but without Jesus…I’m sure I would.  He calms my heart and my mind in such a beautiful way. A way that goes far beyond description. All the pictures of Him healing those who came to Him in the New Testament come to mind…and I know that at the perfect moment, He’s going to heal me. ❤  And so as the “seizure” passes…strength slowly fills my hands and fingers again….I can grab my Bible verses or my ipod.  Usually as I’m regaining strength laying perfectly still is when I get my mind off the pain by scrolling through instagram…or replying to someone’s comment on social media.  I have my qualms with social media…but during those long hard moments, it sure is a nice distraction to connect with friends and get my mind off of what I just experienced!  And I’m sure I sound like I’m fine to anyone who reads what I may have just written or seen what I just “liked”…..

 

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But you don’t look sick….

If anyone had come over today they wouldn’t have thought I looked sick….at all. They probably would’ve even thought I was feeling great.  Would that have been true?  No.  Not by far. Yes, I’m definitely feeling MUCH better….but MUCH better is FAR from ALL better.  Much better means I’m  “functioning”…not “thriving”. 🙂  And especially with this recent Ulcerative Colitis/Autoimmune issue going on the past 5 weeks I’ve unfortunately been feeling my body going backwards in progress made.  This Lyme recovery is definitely 2 steps forward and 1 step back…which still means progress even though that one step back is always SO hard and discouraging.

 

This topic of “But You Don’t Look Sick” is an incredibly sore and painful topic for a lot of people who are chronically ill. Because they don’t LOOK nearly as sick as they FEEL, many people assume that they are fine.  For example:

 

My FIRST year of being sick when I was 18 a professor at the college I was taking classes at told me I was just stressing about life too much.  She was a NURSE who was now a professor. At that point, I was still trying DESPERATELY to hide how sick I was from everyone around me…and after feeling like a fool with several Doctors who said it was in my head I thought that maybe…just maybe I could trust her.  I shared with her the symptoms of intensity I was dealing with.  She made me feel like a fool again and that I was making it all up in my head.  It would be a long time before I would trust sharing my symptoms with someone again…

 

The tears of being told BY DOCTORS after these intense episodes of shaking that I was FAKING it…or hyperventilating.  And then having them try to convince my parents I was faking it.  Doctors?!  The very Doctors who are supposed to be helping me and fighting for me and trying to figure out what’s wrong with me??  How anyone could fake what I’ve been through is beyond me…it would honestly be impossible.  And why would anyone WANT to fake being sick?  Nobody ENJOYS being sick…and trust me, opening up with the world on this blog &  facebook about this struggle has been one of the hardest, most vulnerable and humiliating things I’ve ever done.  I’d MUCH rather be known for ANYTHING else other than….”the sick girl”.  I feel like everywhere I go now people know who I am…and know alllllllll about me….even if I have never met them.  It’s humbling and a blessing.  But just to make things clear. I would NEVER have chosen this….people don’t and can’t fake this. Needless to say, after that experience with those Doctors…It would be a long time before I would trust sharing my symptoms with someone again…

 

How do you tell someone when you WERE an independent, very driven, very athletic, very motivated young woman that you can’t even find the strength to get dressed in the morning.  How do you tell people that even though you really are full of JOY on the inside you might look sad on the outside just because you literally have NO ENERGY….not even enough to open your eyes or smile?  How do you tell someone that you forgot how to get home from some place you’ve been to a million times? How do you tell someone you forgot a pin number that you’ve used for years? How do you tell someone that you forgot your Birth date?  How does that change so quickly….overnight…with one tiny tick bite?  How do you tell someone that you’re struggling with depression from all of this when people’s only response to you is, “You’re Monica! You’re so strong! You’re not depressed! You’re the girl everyone else goes to for counsel…you’re not depressed. That’s silly.” How do you open up and share when people don’t believe any of the above….and it’s VERY, VERY real and happens every day??  (Quick explanation: Lyme Disease forms lesions in the brain which can MAJORLY effect brain/cognitive function therefore manifesting in what I just wrote in this paragraph.  The lesions SLOWLY heal with treatment.)  Needless to say…after meeting with many people who didn’t understand and who said things to me that REALLY hurt (unintentionally on their part)….It would be a long time before I would trust sharing my symptoms with someone again…

 

Sooooo…..are you back to work yet?  Are you back to school yet?  Are you better yet? Why is treatment taking so long? Why aren’t you better yet? I don’t mind those questions….but it’s the tone of voice people ask.  I can tell when it’s sincere and heartfelt and truly said in a care-filled way…and I love those people!  I can also tell when it’s said in a, “Grow-up, get a life, you’re not that sick kind of way.”  And that used to hurt me….a lot.  But now, I can honestly say…it doesn’t.  I can honestly say that I truly don’t care what others think about me anymore.  It’s a place that God has over-time slowly brought me too.  It’s okay if people don’t understand what I’m going through…it’s okay if people don’t understand Lyme Disease…because Jesus does…and that’s enough.  I truly LOVE those so much who don’t understand me and make it known that they don’t in sometimes pretty mean ways…Jesus wasn’t understood by many…and still loved ALL….and because of a work in my heart that HE has done I can truly say the same.  It hasn’t been without tough, painful, hard learning lessons along the way….but HIS peace comes as you surrender to Him.  ❤ ❤ ❤

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I’ve been told what feels like a MILLION times that I don’t look sick.  (I really don’t mind this one…and if you’ve told me that. Please don’t take offense!! It’s OKAY!!!) I just want people to understand that a person can feel absolutely miserable and not look like it at all.

 

Recently I’ve been told by SOOOOOOO many people that I’m looking REALLY good and looking A LOT healthier than I was and yes! This is true!  And I’m VERY grateful for this fact.  It means the strength of my body is rebuilding…and it’s showing! ❤  I still can’t drive, I’m still in a lot of pain, some days it’s still everything I can do to get out of bed and eat and breathe (not kidding), I still get confused/can’t think straight often,  I still have a hard time communicating, I still get dizzy beyond function, I still can’t sit up for super long periods of time (on most, not all days), I still have to hold onto things to walk on some days….and yet, I’m MUCH better than I was….thank YOU, Jesus.  I’m still not well enough to work, or go to school.  I’m still not able to handle the visual stimulation from intense movies…I still have a hard time processing all the mind stimulation from being in a group with lots of people…I still react to even the smallest chemical scent/smell….I still can go weak almost instantly from things beyond my control and I still get Lyme “attacks/seizures” at the most random moments.  Yes, I know I don’t look sick….but I am.

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The object of this post is to share that how a person LOOKS on the outside

does not determine the *realness* or how *debilitating* a disease can be on the inside.

 

I’m fighting as hard and as strongly as I know how and I think most people who are sick fall into that category.  We don’t want to be sick.  We’d rather be healthy and running and traveling and working and going to school and dressing up every day and driving on our own.  All the good meaning people who said I just needed to push myself harder, talk myself out of being sick, sleep more, eat healthier, not get so stressed etc….. Trust me!  The reason I’m not over Lyme yet is not for lack of not trying. I’m tackling fighting Lyme with the gusto of a rhino running a million miles an hour. I view it as my full-time job right now…and then some. Please.  Please.  PLEASE…if you know someone that is sick….TRUST THEM.  Don’t down-play their symptoms…don’t make them feel like they’re making it up.  Encourage them to keep fighting, searching for answers and most importantly, running to God and His Word.  There is ALWAYS HOPE.  So please turn the “But you don’t look sick.” into “You don’t look sick….but I know you are and I know you don’t feel well and that’s okay. I love you anyways and I’m here for you.”  That line coming from you could just honestly make the month of any sick person that you are friends with. ❤  ❤ ❤  We try hard to act and look normal…because, well….we WANT to be “normal”…but just because we’re working SUPER hard at “acting” normal…doesn’t mean we feel normal. 

 

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I want to end by saying THANK YOU to my friends who have stuck by my side….THANK YOU to my family who encourages me to not give up…THANK YOU to all of you who make this fight against Lyme possible with your generous donation gifts and prayers and THANK YOU for taking the time to understand this hard-to-comprehend-hard-to-explain disease.  And THANK YOU to all of you who made me feel like I WASN’T making this up in my head years ago before I was diagnosed. ❤  You truly gave me the hope to keep pressing on even when so many roads I took made me feel like giving up altogether when they kept dead-ending on me.

I know this was long….thank you for reading.  Thank you to those of you who aren’t sick who want to understand what we go through.  And to those of you who are sick, you’re one day closer to FULL HEALING, friend. ❤

 

Keep Fighting. Keep Smiling. Keep Hoping. Keep Trusting. Keep Believing and NEVER stop Praying. ❤

Love Always,

Monica

 

 

 

 

 

The Names of God…

 

Sometimes on those hard days of fighting Lyme Disease, Ulcerative Colitis or any other chronic illness that anyone out there is facing you have to just stop and focus on how big our God really is.  Kinda like that quote, “Don’t tell God how big your storm is…tell your storm how big your God is.”  I saw this video for the first time today and was so incredibly blessed!  So many of the names of my Jesus that I cherish wrapped up in one summary in this YouTube. 🙂  I think it’s beautiful! This is who my Jesus is.  This is who my God is!  Yes…I can trust Him.  I would be foolish not too.

“And those who KNOW YOUR NAME will put their trust in YOU, for YOU, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” ~Psalms 9:10

Update

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Hey Everyone!!!

I have some really good news and also a big prayer request. ❤  The big news is that my body has been functioning SOOOOOOOOOOO much better lately as far as energy goes.   I haven’t been having nearly as many lyme attacks/lyme seizures, my vision has improved DRAMATICALLY, reading is MUCH easier, riding in cars doesn’t make me crazy motion sick, I’m walking almost every day for about a WHOLE MILE ( SOOOOOO huge and SOOOO grateful for the strength to do that!), my muscle strength in my arms and legs is slowly but surely returning more and more with each passing week, I’m handling temperature change and heat MUCH better than last Summer, sun & lights aren’t affecting me as much and SO many other improvements.  I still get worn out really quickly and I still have to stay on top of my game plan to recovery (lots of shakes, 5 hour pfg treatments daily, infrared sauna, stretching, diet, blood treatments, IV’s etc…)….but I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to be actually seeing and FEELING the results of getting better. ❤  I’m SOOOOO grateful!!! The above picture is of me last Sunday with my brother.  He completed a triathlon and I got to be there to watch and cheer for him!  It was wonderful to be there cheering him and some other friends on who competed!  I hope to join him someday….probably a few years off still…but someday. 😉  After spending the morning watching the race I came home and crashed in bed for the rest of the day because it really exhausted me being in such a large group of people and all the walking….but I was SOOOOOO glad to have been able to go.

Another precious and FUN event of this past week was my dear friend, Bethany coming and visiting me all the way from Georgia!  I met her years ago on a Journey to the Heart trip and she has remained a dear, close friend ever since.  She was just what I needed this past week!  I’ve definitely been struggling with loneliness lately and missing my closest friends who are scattered all over the US and it meant the world to me to see her and spend quality time together *in person*…not just over the phone.  She was SUCH a HUGE encouragement to me.  Years ago before we knew what was wrong with me she was one of my friends who had fasted and prayed for my healing for several days in a row….I’ll never forget what a prayer warrior she has been and continues to be for my life, strength & health.   We had a blast talking and sharing and playing our favorite old 1940’s music, playing with make-up looks, matching our outfits, talking about her upcoming WEDDING in the Fall and so many other things.  It felt good to have FUN….I do my best to have fun each and every day….but sometimes my health routine gets so monotonous that breaking it up with a good friend really does good like medicine.  I thank Jesus for Bethany!  As you can see from the pics….we definitely had fun together. ❤ I was sorry to see her leave….but grateful for the time we had. 🙂

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On to the BIG prayer request….behind my smiles in both of the pictures is a TREMENDOUS amount of pain. :-/  My Ulcerative Colitis is acting up BIG TIME.  It has for 4 weeks now and this morning I woke up in so much pain I could hardly get out of bed.  My Lyme Symptoms are SO much better….but my UC symptoms are SO much worse. 😦  I have dealt with my UC on and off the past 4 years and during these flare ups it is beyond discouraging to be trying SO hard with diet & shots & meds/natural things and to not see any improvement day after day.  For some reason today has been the worst yet and I’ve spent a huge chunk of it in the bathroom….not to be gross or anything….just being honest. I’ve been doing different teas and essential oils and lots of Reliv shakes etc….all those things usually help and can sometimes clear it right up.  But that’s not happening this time.  I’m waiting to hear back from my Liver Doctor to see if I can go on a new medication that my Dr would like me to be on to try to calm it down.  I’m also back on the Ulcerative Colitis peptide shots….which has been another discouraging thing for me.  The shots help me A LOT!  But they are $325 each…..and insurance won’t cover them.  So financially, it’s discouraging trying to figure out how to add that back into the budget….I was on the shots for 1 1/2 years and then it looked like my UC had gone into remission last Fall/Winter….almost 6 months of NO flares!  I NEVER cheat on my diet (which is a BIG thing for people with UC or Crohns) and was doing everything I could learn to strengthen my colon….so I thought after 6 months I was free.  But apparently not. SO…I would REALLY appreciate prayers for a QUICK healing of my UC….that my body stays hydrated….that I’m able to keep eating through this flare and for wisdom with medications/treatments and financial provision.  AND that this doesn’t set me back any with the fight against Lyme.

Thank you all SOOOOO much everyone.  I truly appreciate each and every one of you more than I could ever say.  Love, hugs and prayers to all of my cheerleaders, fellow lyme warriors and friends. ❤

Love,

Monica

Pink Pills

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You know you’ve prayed through your Healing Verse Promise Scriptures from Jesus A LOT when the page is no longer attached. 🙂 ♥ Oh, the peace & joy my “pink pills” have brought the past several years. I pray through these daily 3x each. First time to God, *THANKING* Him for the verse, second time to the Devil prefacing it with “It is written” and the third time for myself prefacing the verse with, “I BELIEVE.” // In Proverbs 4:22 God says that HIS WORD is “LIFE unto those that find them and HEALTH to ALL their flesh.” The word, “health” in Hebrew means “medicine”. These verses build up and encourage my spirit MUCH MORE than I could ever say and there’s something about *verbally* claiming the Word of God that builds up one’s faith & trust in their Creator. I believe this is even more important than my IV’s, shots, blood treatments etc. God is using ALL of those in my life and body…but truly, HIS WORD…Jesus Himself, is more my strength and healing than any of man made medicine ever could be…because every breath I take is a gift from HIS hand. And so…this continues to remain the most important part of my daily medicine….praying thru my *pink pills*. 😉 Jehovah Rapha still heals…He promised…I believe…I’m trusting in HIS timing and thanking Him for each day and all He is doing! ♥ || “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED.” ~Isaiah 53:5

Love,

Monica