How has Lyme Disease affected your life?
My story to tell – Everybody has a story, something they battle with and I love hearing them. There is so much to learn from someone who has had a trial and becomes stronger; it explains who they really are and why they believe the way they do. I love connecting with people who will open their heart to me, share their story so I can become a better person. Through these stories we can find hope, peace, knowledge and the fight we didn’t know we had to get through our own trials. I want to share my story so I can be reminded of my fight but more importantly I want to help someone else who needs strength to get through their battle.
Let me give you a little background: I have played sports my entire life. I thrive on working out and working hard. I am competitive. I am fit but I have always struggled with what I wanted my weight to be and my body to look like which has caused some self-perception distortions as well as an emotional relationship with food. I played college volleyball then got my BA in Physical Education and Health, taught high school and coached for years in Utah. I got married and had 3 kids during the span of 8 years then in August of 2008 we moved to WI from Utah and this is where I will begin…
Although I don’t remember when “it” started I do remember approximately one year after living in WI, I noticed a drop in energy. I remember laying on my living room floor feeling so exhausted I wanted to do nothing; no ambition, no motivation and no energy which was very unusual for me. I would lay there and think, “What is wrong with me? This is not normal. I don’t like this; I’ve got to get up and get going!” so I did. Every day I would go to the gym even if I was tired because I thought if I didn’t work out I would gain weight. If I gained weight I would get fat and I dreaded the thought of that and what came with getting fat.
I had three kids and knew that being a mother was tiring but this exhaustion seemed different yet I didn’t have any reason to think that anything was really wrong. The bouts would come every month for 5-6 days then I would go back to normal for 3 weeks. Life continued, I got pregnant with my 4th child and I continued being very active, working out daily and going 24-7 despite my lack of energy or my bummed left knee that would always hurt. I wasn’t going to let the exhaustion or bummed knee get to me.
When my baby was 18 months old we moved to a new house and new neighborhood and I found myself on the floor more often. I also noticed that my period was different which was very unusual and although I was working out and eating healthy I could not get rid of 5-7 lbs that I typically could get off when I focused on my eating and working out a little more. I brought it up to my OB during a visit but he didn’t seem to think it was anything to be concerned about. Once again I brushed it off but deep down I knew something was wrong. Around this time (October) I was introduced by a friend and neighbor to Nutritional Cleansing. I noticed she lost her baby weight and some, looked healthy and energetic and I wanted to know what she was doing. Isagenix and Nutritional Cleansing was something I hadn’t heard before and although I was very curious and I trusted her I was VERY skeptical so I began to ask a lot of questions and do a lot of research on my own. I was looking for answers: more energy, better control with my eating, weight loss, something (but not just anything) and this was my answer.
After 2 months of research I was ready. I ordered my first cleanse and did the 11 days over Christmas break, talk about discipline! On my first cleanse day I actually threw up and didn’t have a lot of energy so when I called my friend to ask if this was normal she was a bit surprised and told me throwing up wasn’t – I chalked it up to catching a bug from the kids and continued to push through my cleanse. I actually loved it. I loved the discipline although it was challenging. I loved how lean I felt and even more I loved what I was learning about toxicity in our food, air, environment and how it is affecting our body. I loved the ingredients in the products and was BLOWN AWAY when I listed to a Product Analysis Podcast by Peter Greenlaw. He discussed key ingredients in the products, why they are in there, what they do for the body and why our body needs it. After my 11 days I lost 8 lbs and 13″ and I knew this was an answer to my prayers for NUMEROUS reasons.
I continued cleansing regularly, taking a shake every day and telling everyone I could about Nutritional Cleansing because it was making such a big difference in my life. I felt fulfillment educating others and myself about what I was learning everyday as I studied nutrition, toxicity, Isagenix and our bodies. I was able to help people reach their health goals and be more confident with themselves. I was happy but I still couldn’t figure out why I continued to have my week of exhaustion every month. I soon realized it occurred when my hormones were at their highest every month. Little did I know that Nutritional Cleansing was going to be more of a blessing than I realized.
Close to 1 year after I started Isagenix, in September of 2012 things took a turn for the worst. My exhaustion turned to CHRONIC FATIGUE, migraines and pain (which I had never had before) from my shoulders through my neck to the top of my head. I couldn’t sleep because my neck was so sensitive that it kept me awake, tossing and turning. My back and hip began to hurt, I was extremely nauseous and had GI issues and even more frustrating my vision was getting blurry and I kept forgetting things which wasn’t like me at all. I was internally torn knowing that I should be feeling so good because I was taking such good care of my body, making huge changes to my diet as well as my family’s yet I was worse than I had ever felt in my life. Frustrated, being challenged mentally, physically and emotionally I didn’t know what was going on but I knew I had to figure it out, this was NOT okay!
I started with my OBGYN since I knew symptoms were related to my hormones. I got blood work, ultrasounds, more blood work and all of them came back perfect. My OB sent me to a Family Dr and I knew the moment he sat down and started talking that he wasn’t going to help me. He looked at my chart, asked me a few questions and told me he thought it would be a good idea to get on depression medication. He even told me a story about a woman who thought she didn’t need them and ended up back in his office a few months later, tried them and felt so much better. I told him, “I have worked hard to balance my pH, cleanse my body and this is not what I am going to do when you don’t even know what is wrong with me. Thank you.” I left and called my OB for another suggestion. Over the course of 3 months I went to my OB 3 times for more tests all which came back normal; his last suggestion before I gave up on him was that maybe I had Seasonal Depression Disorder…I am not going to lie, I may have, WI has LONG, dreary winters and I love and need the sun but nice try Dr. that wasn’t it and I knew it. It was at that moment that I felt He along with the other doctors I had seen didn’t believe me. He sent me to another family physician who I actually liked and she took the time to listen to me, do more blood work on different panels and realized that my ANA panel was positive. That means that my autoimmune disease test was positive. She called me and told me not to freak out but look up Lupus because that is what I may have according to my symptoms and I need to make an appointment with a Rheumatologist. I was a little freaked out but at least had some relief that we knew what it was so we could work on fixing it. I called the Rheumatologist… and the chase continued. I sat on the table, he looked at my joints, my neck, my head and checked my chart over and over. It was very obvious by his body language and observing him that he was puzzled and didn’t know what was wrong with me. He finally told me that I don’t have Lupus nor MS nor Rheumatoid Arthritis so he didn’t know what was wrong but that he felt I should get a cat scan and go see a GI Dr. I refused the scan and made an appointment with the GI Dr. for the following week.
By this time I was so frustrated, tired, mad and starting to feel a little depression from the lack of help I had received. NOBODY understood what I was going through: I felt like a 90 year old woman on her death bed and I didn’t know how long I wanted to hang on. I don’t remember ever feeling that way before in my life and I didn’t like it. I had no control and couldn’t do anything about it. I was sick and nobody believed me. I wondered if my husband, my friends, my family believed me because the doctors weren’t and they couldn’t find anything wrong. I would get up and try to go to the gym to get myself going but it only made it worse. It took everything I had to get up, take care of the kids and try to live a “normal” life. I put on my happy face because I didn’t want people to know how bad I was suffering on the inside because on the outside I looked fine. On my couch, on my floor, on my bed I would cry and pray that someone/something would help me.
My prayers unknown to me were being answered. I had a friend suggest that I see her natural path Sue as I was going through this but I pushed it aside, continued seeing doctors who I thought were going to do a test, find out what was wrong and get me on my healthy way. I was skeptical of Sue and her ability to help me, it sounded a little hocus pocus when my friend would say, “she works on you through energy, she can read your energy and tell you everything that is going on inside of your body!” Really? Well after 3 months of getting nowhere with doctors, feeling alone and that nobody believed the pain I was going through and that I REALLY WAS sick I decided to make an appointment with Sue. I had nothing to lose. In the meantime I did make an appointment with a GI Dr which was just as pointless as the rest. The only “good” thing that came of that is a couple days after my appt. with him I had blood in my stool so he got me in for a colonoscopy…awesome. I had had one before when I was first married for some bad stomach issues but the results were fine, so I knew what I was in for. Let me just say that NO a colonoscopy prep and Nutritional Cleansing have NOTHING in common. The Dr. did find a pre-cancerous polyp, which he removed and advised I get a colonoscopy every 3 years. Ugh.
The November day arrived for me to meet with Sue and I was nervous but more sick than anything. I needed help and I didn’t know that I was going to get it immediately from her. I found a babysitter for my little girls and was with Sue for 4.5 hours!! Her Quantum biofeedback was the COOLEST thing I have EVER done. Our bodies are made of energy and this machine reads that energy and can look through every panel of your body and tell you what is going on. She told me things about my body (like I am lactose intolerant) that I didn’t tell her. She is not an MD and does not diagnose but she did tell me that it was showing I had Lyme bacteria all over my body and as we went through the panels it was the cause for all of my issues. Late stage Lyme and I was affected neurologically. My body was a mess but at the same time she said my environmental toxin levels were lower than she had ever seen and she could tell that I was giving my body good nutrition…THANK YOU ISAGENIX! I knew it was awesome but what I didn’t know was how I got Lyme? I never saw a tick, nor a bull’s eye rash.
Long story short, my vagus nerve was severely damaged by the Lyme which was causing my neck and head to hurt and since it is the source of all automatic responses it is also the source of my blurry vision, plugged ears, memory loss and digestive issues but before I even left her office I felt better and I knew this was the answer to my MANY prayers. My next concern was how I was going to pay for all the treatments since insurance didn’t.
My symptoms returned a week later and I went back to see Sue. My husband wasn’t sold on the idea of me having to pay so much for an undetermined amount of time and questioned if I was sure this was the right thing to do. I knew people thought I was crazy and they were concerned for my health and wellness but what they didn’t know is what I was feeling inside and how I KNEW without a doubt that is what I needed to do. Once again Sue helped me feel better, educated me, gave me some supplements and discussed a plan… antibiotics came up. I was hesitant to take antibiotics and Sue wasn’t sold either, but knew I wanted to do everything I could to get rid of this hell inside me.
I began researching Lyme Disease, hours on end. I wanted to know everything about it, how to treat it, what it does and I wanted to talk to others who have gone through it so I could be prepared to fight this. I was able to get in contact with numerous people all over the US who have Late Stage Lyme and the symptoms and experiences with doctors all seemed the same. I learned that the natural healing route was the most successful; nutrition, rest and cleansing were a must. I had a new appreciation for Isagenix and knew it has been placed in my life for a reason. Every doctor, nurse, person who had experience with illness and natural healing all focused on cleansing. I would continue cleansing but I needed antibiotics.
Sue wasn’t able to give me a prescription for antibiotics because she was not an MD so I had to find someone who could. I went back to my GI Dr and without telling him I knew I had Lyme I asked him to test for it. He reluctantly agreed to test for that as well as Celiac Disease but was certain the Lyme could not be the cause of my problems. My test showed up negative so the Dr. would not write me an Rx for antibiotics so I went to my next option. I was referred to Dr. Whitcomb in Brookfield who was a practicing physician turned homeopath who specializes in Lyme Disease from a woman whose son had Lyme. It made me sick to think of spending $300 for 1 hour with him but I knew it had to be done. I was able to be diagnosed by him from my symptoms and was told to go gluten, dairy and sugar free. He gave me a plan, talked about the need to cleanse (I had taken in all my Isagenix products to show him and he was very impressed and told me to keep doing it) and said he wanted to see me in 1 month.
I felt a flood of emotions regularly: frustration that this disease is so controversial yet so detrimental to the body. MAD that insurance won’t pay for natural medicine when that’s what works best for some (most) people. Guilty for spending so much money on me. Sad for the people who had been suffering for years with no relief. Worry that I would have to deal with this for the rest of my life but happy I found what was wrong so I could work on getting better.
For the next year I would have good days and bad days but I learned many life lessons along the way. I took a month off the gym and rested my body, eventually I was able to get back 1-3 times a week. It was during this time that my obsession of the gym was thrown out the window. I realized I would be okay if I didn’t make it daily. I couldn’t go daily, and I knew it wasn’t because I was lazy but because my body was telling me it needed rest, from working hard to fight. My feeling toward my body changed, I was more appreciative and felt blessed for the good days I had and took advantage of those days. I had my bad days, bad weeks and I would struggle to find peace that I was ever going to get over this. Would I ever be able to work out as intense as I’d like again? Would I have energy to play with my kids, go hiking, biking, play volleyball, work in the yard even half of what I did before? I felt a lot of discouragement at times but I knew with the support of my family (thank goodness they believed me and did everything they could to help) and my knowledge that my God would help me, I could get through this.
It is now May 1, 2014 which is 1.5 years after I found out I had Lyme and I am doing well…not 100%, I still have my days of fatigue but instead of 5-6 days a month it is down to 3-4. Well enough that I wake up in the morning ready to go to the gym instead of having to get up wanting to sleep longer. I am able to go to the gym or exercise 5 days a week, play volleyball, play with kids, coach volleyball, and be a wife and mom without feeling like I need to go to bed by 7 pm. I have energy, I have motivation and ambition, I feel like there is hope and that I can overcome this battle as I continue to eat clean, cleanse, and exercise but rest when I need to. I have the energy, motivation and passion to help others achieve their health goals and I feel extremely blessed to have the knowledge, experience and tools to do so. Life is good. Life is hard and challenging but my challenge has made me a better person. I am strong. I am a fighter. I am blessed tremendously to have Isagenix and my natural path as tools to help my body and mind heal.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the knowledge that I have in Jesus Christ. Faith. He sacrificed His life for me, He felt every pain and emotion that I have gone through and more- knowing that gives me hope that I can have all of my suffering taken away if I have FAITH and take every step that I have been led to take to heal. I have faith and tell myself daily that I am healed. I feel good, my pains are gone. I pray numerous times daily to help me stay positive and to increase my faith in Christ that this burden will be removed. That is what inspires me and has given me hope that is available for anyone and everyone no matter what suffering they are going through.
“Health is a battle worth fighting for and I am winning the fight.” – Anonymous