Friday, September 20, 2013

Lyme Symptoms-and there's a lot of them!!

I probably should have done this post about Lyme Disease symptoms at the very beginning of treatment, but it is still valid now. It is so important to know what symptoms to look for if you have been bitten by a tick. The best option is to get 4-6 weeks of antibiotics as soon as you are bitten by a tick. Not all doctors agree with this, but it is by far the best thing to do. Not everyone who has been bitten by a tick will show symptoms. Not every bite transmits Lyme, and not everyone who has been exposed to it gets it.  *Note-I'm currently doing a detox treatment and it makes it hard to write. Please excuse mistakes!!*

The best way for a doctor to figure out if you do have Lyme's is for the doctor to use a clinical diagnosis. Many, many times the blood work will give a false negative and it can even give a false positive. So what do you do if you suspect you have it? See a doctor and have this checklist (see below) ready. It will help you communicate to your doctor what your symptoms are, and you won't forget when the doc asks you. This checklist comes from http://www.ilads.org/ (International Lyme And Associated Diseases Society). Beware, the list is long! I'll probably highlight some and then send you to the checklist in case you ever need it.

Lyme Disease Symptoms:

Persistent swollen glands
Sore throat
Fevers
Sore soles, esp. in the AM
Joint pain: Fingers, toes, ankles, wrists, knees, elbows, hips, shoulders
Joint swelling: fingers, toes, ankles, wrists, knees, elbows, hips, shoulders
Unexplained back pain
Stiffness of the joints or back
Muscle pain or cramps
Obvious muscle weakness
Twitching of the face or other muscles
Confusion, difficulty thinking
Difficulty with concentration, reading, problem absorbing new information
Word search, name block
Forgetfulness, poor short term memory, poor attention
Disorientation: getting lost, going to wrong places
Speech errors: wrong word, misspeaking
Mood swings, irritability, depression
Anxiety, panic attacks
Psychosis (hallucinations,
delusions, paranoia, bipolar)
Tremor
Seizures
Headache
Light sensitivity
Sound sensitivity

This is by no means a complete list.  These symptoms were taken from http://www.ilads.org/lyme_disease/B_guidelines_12_17_08.pdf#search=%22symptoms%22 pages 9 and 10. There, you can find the complete list.

When I first went in to be diagnosed, I think I counted 30 symptoms that I had. Over the years symptoms  come and go and even change. I have no desire to count now :-) However, it is great to have this list to refer to. I hope this post hasn't been too boring... Next post is about detoxing and I'll update how things are going around here.

allison

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Two hundred and thirty days.

Two hundred and thirty days. That is how long I've been doing treatment. I hit a wall for a little bit today. I was tired and I stayed in bed for 5 1/2 hours this afternoon. I really haven't done that in a long time and my body still protested when I got up. :-) Today was my last day of treatment till we return to the doctor to get the next treatment schedule. Thankfully I can rest the next two weeks. I can't imagine what it will be like, though I do have to catch up on chicken chores. I feel like I've been fighting my chickens lately. Two broody hens that had to be broken, one chicken with a bum leg, and another with prolapse. I'm not sure whether she will make it or not. Ugh. But I'll have time to work with her tomorrow.

Fall seems to have come on quite suddenly and I definitely don't look forward to putting on 4 layers just to do my chicken chores... But I do look forward to be able to do them without sweating profusely!! And oh, the fair! When a chill hits the air and the leave start turning and falling, I start to dream of the fair. Fun filled days full of delicious food and sweet animals to look at. Those two things are what I love! I have found quite a few gluten-free foods that I can eat at the fair. This year I really want a dill pickle. Those full size ones that they sell for something like 50 cents. Oh, they are so good! Fudge, nachos, roasted corn, pickles, kettle corn, ice cream, apple cider, and Al's fries. I'm a happy girl when the fair comes to town and it's less than a month away. In the past five years I've been to the fair once in a walking boot (broken foot), once in a wheelchair, and once on a mobility scooter (really broken foot). This year I am going most likely by wheelchair, but I am definitely going! And I'm going twice. Never less than twice.

The first week of this medicine cycle I had a lot of bad herxes and I needed someone with me every day. Joel, my mom, and my aunt normally handle this, but I thought they needed a break. So I called my Mema who came for 3 days. It was so wonderful to have her here. We talked and talked; she graciously cooked and even indulged me when I asked for fried chicken livers! She brought Peso, her Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix. He kept things lively for sure! But I was really glad she brought him. Overall, having a small yapping dog went well :-)

So here's to two hundred and thirty days of treatment and to the fair! There are hard things in life and fun things in life. Even when you feel like you've hit a wall, there is always something to look forward to!

Friday, September 6, 2013

September 6: National Read A Book Day

I've been wanting to a post on books since I've had a short break from the last 2 months of treatment. My word, they were hard! I couldn't have done it without my family who really kept me going when I really wanted to quit. Thankfully the doctor has pulled back my treatment so that it will take longer but not be so harsh. I am so thankful for that! I'm working on detoxing and regaining energy, but neither of them are easy. My animals are the perfect diversion-especially the chickens. Annie the dog and Obi-Wan the cat will take a nap with me, but Jasper the crazy kitty just gets into everything possible and then I get tired from chasing him around. Poor thing doesn't come in a lot because of that, but I don't think he has put 2 and 2 together. Jasper has a habit of eating things he's not supposed to (like shower curtains and fabric)so we have to be super alert when he's in. Craziness!!!

On to my favorite topic... Books! I really have a problem with acquiring books, but at least I do buy them at thrift stores and antique shops where they are 50 cents to $1.50. I have a ridiculous amount of books in the living room, and no, none of them are on a book shelf. Here they are in no particular order:

A NEW SELECTED POEMS by Galway Kinnell
 "STAND BACK," SAID THE ELEPHANT, "I'M GOING TO SNEEZE!" by Patricia Thomas 
LITTLE TOOT by Hardie Gramatky
Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
The Fabric & Yarn Dyer's Handbook by Tracy Kendall
THE FEDERALIST PAPERS by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison -edited by Richard Beeman
ESSAYS Old and New -edited by Robert U. Jameson
STORM OF SWORDS by George R.R. Martin
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN by James Joyce
LINCOLN SPEECHES edited by Richard Beeman
BARNES'S PRIMARY HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES from the AMERICAN BOOK COMPANY
THE SOUND AND THE FURY/AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner
HALF BROKE HORSES by Jeannette Walls
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE by Dee Brown
KNOW YOUR CHICKENS by Jack Byard
Southwestern Pottery: Anasazi to Zuni by Allan Hayes and John Blom
Storey's Guide to RAISING CHICKENS by Gail Damerow
my Bible
CAST of CHARACTERS by Max Lucado
THE HEAVENLY MAN: the remarkable true story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun -with Paul Hattaway OF MICE AND MEN by John Steinbeck
ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card
THE EARTH MOVED: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms by Amy Stewart
another Bible
Jesus Today by Sarah Young
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
FARM CITY: THE EDUCATION OF AN URBAN FARMER by Novella Carpenter
Bound Feet and Western Dress by Pang-Mei Natasha Chang
CHERRY AMES CLINIC NURSE by Julie Tatham
CHERRY AMES AT SPENCER by Julie Tatham
CHERRY AMES SENIOR NURSE by Helen Wells
and... and an untold amount of chicken magazines.

35+ books on my living room floor.
I have a SERIOUS, SERIOUS problem.
I'm currently reading 8 of them.
Oh.My.Word.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

herxing

It's the middle of the night, and I'm awake. I'm taking a medicine for my Lyme this week that is actually an anti-malarial drug. It kills off the spirochetes and the cysts. How do I know? Because my legs won't stop shaking and jerking and I can't even focus on the computer screen. I'm pretty much typing blind and letting spell check do the rest. My pupils are dilated like I've been to the eye doctor. No matter how much light is in a room, my pupils are taking in huge amounts of light. Days and nights like these are no fun and horrible. No sleep plus crazy things happening to you makes for one tired Allison the next day. I have one more dose of this medicine and I could not be more thankful. Right now the jerking has moved from my legs down to my feet. I think I'm gonna turn my movie back on, cause there will be no sleeping with these crazy jerking feet.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

It's easy to go silent

In Blog-land it's easy to go silent if you are busy, if things are difficult, or even if you just don't feel like sharing. I think that lately it has been a little of all these things. The medicines haven't been so bad this month, but the detox has. Joel and I both have noticed that in general I have more energy. I feel a little more like a normal person. I still can't leave the house by myself, but that doesn't bother me so long as I get to Chick-fil-A every week or so. I love their fries!! There are always chickens to take care of, cats and a dog to love on, and well, to be honest, there's always Facebook. Can I claim that it keeps me in touch with the rest of the world?

Detoxification is really important during Lyme disease treatment. When you kill off the spirochetes (the bacteria that makes you sick) and the cysts that they build around themselves for protection, the side effect is that they release terrible toxins into your body. I've never handled this well; my body just doesn't detox easily. I know that there are lots of ways to detox, but the ones suggested by my doctor are Epsom salt baths, green tea, burbur drops, and lactated ringers. Most of the time all of these methods are gentle, easy ways to clear your body of toxins. However, last week after two of the lactated ringers that I did, I had spells of confusion and short term memory loss. Both symptoms went away within hours, but it was scary. Joel called the doctor and they said that this was not unusual at this stage of treatment. I just finished four straight days of IV antibiotics tonight and I'm doing my first ringer in days. I hope that it doesn't cause confusion and short term memory loss, but I'm sure the phrase "better out than in" applies to toxins as well.

In other news, we let the barn chickens free range most of the day yesterday. Joel was home with me to supervise my medicine taking in case I had anything unusual come along. After my meds, I had to drag all of the young chickens out of the barn and into the yard. As soon as I put them on the ground, they looked down and realized there was green stuff and bugs to eat. They stayed out till 8 when we had to herd them back into the barn. Hopefully next time they will go in and out of their own accord. I thought I'd post some pictures so that you can see how happy they were. I loved watching them run around and eat their fill, dust bathe, or just sit in the shade and relax. They're so cute. The picture quality is terrible because all I had was my phone, but they are cute anyway.

Here is Eugenia Price sitting on the hull of an old lawnmower. I love this picture!!

My flock.

Chicken happiness!


I'll be selling eggs soon. I get about 9 eggs a day right now but that still leaves 14 chickens who need to start laying. It's getting more exciting every day!
Please continue to help us with this medical treatment.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Hope

I was really scared about doing my medicines today. Lots of pills this morning and 2 IV bags tonight. The second IV made me incredibly sick in DC when the doctor tested it on me. Tonight, however, I have had no problems except for a little bit of wobbly head. Let me just say, God gives hope and he does not hold back. Joel reminded me that the treatment could get much harder as the week goes on, and he is right. But tonight gave me hope, and sometimes that is all you need. The song I heard in my head this evening is one that we sang in the small church I grew up in. I absolutely love hymns and the hope and comfort that they give.

To God Be the Glory
To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Refrain

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.


O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Refrain

Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.

Refrain

Because hope always comes at just the right time.

Monday, July 1, 2013

One Crazy Weekend!

This past weekend we traveled up to D.C. It was wonderful to get out and go somewhere, especially as I love the city of DC so very much. I love the monuments and the magnificent buildings and the sense of pride one has when recalling how our nation was founded. I love the museums and have really wanted to go to the American Indian museum. Of all the museums, however, I love the ones that have art-fiber arts, painting, sculpture...Oh how I love art. It's not surprising then that I was an art major at college. But I love to read too. I just finished Brave New World and now I'm on to Macbeth. Oh, Shakespeare, you were brilliant. I actually didn't like Macbeth at all in high school, but I think that I didn't have the capacity to understand some of the lines. In Brave New World, the character named "Savage" spoke mostly in verses from Shakespeare. Thus, the transition from a dystopian novel to a Shakespearean play.

Our appointment with the doctor went okay. The normal things were fine-talking about symptoms and problems I'm having and his advice for how to handle it. One thing he did say was that I need an extra week off. My body has always had a hard time detoxing from the medicines. This week will be dedicated to getting those toxins out. I'll be doing lactated ringers, Epsom salt baths, and green tea. And rest. Rest is good. I felt fine at my appointment while they were administering my test dose of antibiotics to make sure I can take it without having an allergic reaction. It was fine-I'm not allergic. However, it took a toll on everything else. I started feeling like I had the flu. I was nauseated, weepy, and everything hurt. I couldn't eat anything till the next morning and even then I felt like I had been hit by a mac truck. I was in a haze the next two days with loss of balance, confusion, terrible short term memory, and weakness. People, it was no fun! But I did get to see my wonderful roommate from college. We lived together for 4 years and it was wonderful. Neither one of us were exceptionally tidy, but I remember looking at the floor one day and there was a line straight down the middle floor and my clothes went right up to that line. I didn't destroy her side of the room, I don't think... (Well, maybe you should ask Christy). Anyways, we had tons of fun together this weekend, and she even hung out with me when I was so sick on Friday night. I love you, Christy! This is the two of us at the Nats ballgame last trip up. We both love baseball!



We now have a place where you can sign up to bring us a gluten-free meal. The website is Food Tidings. You have to make an account, but that is super easy. Then you can pick a date that hasn't been chosen and sign up. If you have questions about how to make a gluten-free meal, feel free to contact me. I can answer your questions.

On a very happy note, two of the hens that I raised from chicks this spring have started laying. They have the cutest, most perfect little eggs you've ever seen. I haven't figured out yet which two are laying yet, but I'm super excited, and can't wait for the Easter Eggers lay. I'm dying to see what color eggs they lay. I really, really want one or all of my EE hens to lay blue eggs. That just might be a dream though. They'll probably all lay green eggs out of spite. Oh well!
Tchau, or goodbye as we say in Portuguese.

Please continue to help us make these trips to DC for medical treatment.