What I’m Fighting For…

 

In 2012 I diagnosed myself with Lyme disease.  Back then, the doctors knew very little about this enigmatic, all consuming, pain wracking illness.  The Reader’s Digest version?  It began with a small lump in my upper thigh, perhaps the size of a peanut M&M.  Hypochondriac that I am prone to being, I asked the doctor during a visit for my Suboxyne.

“Probably a fatty tumor, I wouldn’t worry about it,” Peter said.

But you haven’t looked at it.  You didn’t ask me to take down my pants.  Like the doormat I was, I smiled and headed out the door.  I returned a month later, the M&M was now a small avocado.  Again, he didn’t even ask to see it.  Shame on me for not leaving the practice immediately; like I said, back then I was a completely different person, I scurried away with the nagging feeling that this was not over, not by a long shot.

By Christmas, I was in pathetic shape.  Constant fevers, mind numbing fatigue, aches and pains so brutal, I was incapable of walking most days.  My husband and I demanded to see another doctor in the process, and as I walked past the receptionist area-all heads turned to see the pathetic case in the shabby robe and bunny slippers.  The M&M was now a grapefruit.  I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why I didn’t seek help elsewhere.

The good doctor sent me for an ultrasound resulting in a uterine biopsy, which turned up nothing.  A week later I saw her in her office.

“I have Lyme disease.  I have done my research, please script me a month’s worth of Doxycycline.”

She teared up when she said, I’m so sorry, I didn’t think…

Within a month I was completely back to normal.  I took on a job as a Direct Support provider for a company who cared for those with Intellectual Disabilities-I worked like crazy, taking on as many hours as I could, so thankful to be “normal” again.

In 2017, I suffered two bullseye rashes at separate times-both treated with Doxy.  By 2018, I was given the diagnoses of Chronic Lyme.  I went through a hospitalization for vertigo, broke my shoulder on a hike (the disease affects the brain, and with that comes dreadful balance) and ended up with one hell of an infection in the very same lymph node.  I had no energy.  I was sick constantly-all through Winter and well into Spring.  I had to quit work, which devastated us financially.

Two weeks ago I was bitten, again, by a deer tick.  I put myself on my church prayer list, got on my knees and pled my case with Abba.  I felt so stymied and completely hopeless; wasn’t there a way?  I made an appointment with a specialist for October, and prayed.  My doctor was so inept, that when I asked him to order the Western Blot test (absolutely key in diagnoses) he told me no, that my insurance wouldn’t pay-

We know you have Lyme.  We don’t need a blood test.

I was frightened.  I asked Jesus, will this be my future?

Two weeks ago, after discovering the latest tick bite, I remembered a friend at church telling me that Stevia kills Lyme disease a few months back.  I bought the store brand, and occasionally put the way too sweet stuff in my coffee.  But this day, I was led to do some research.  You can’t get well using refined Stevia-it must come from the leaf extract.

I hurried to the local nursery and bought the last Stevia plant left.  I ate one leaf a day for one week.  The bullseye disappeared.  My symptoms vanished.  I now eat a leaf every other day.  A side effect of Stevia is that it kills the Borrelia Burgdorferi, the spirochete responsible for causing the illness and debilitating side effects.  You can order the extract on Amazon, which I will do to ensure I have access to the plant in the Winter months.

Please take my advice-give it to God, and never ever give up hope.  Through Christ you can do all things-He will give you the strength and fortitude-to move mountains-but we need to ask him first.

***This song is about Avril’s fight with Lyme.

Be blessed~

What I’m Fighting For…

 

In 2012 I diagnosed myself with Lyme disease.  Back then, the doctors knew very little about this enigmatic, all consuming, pain wracking illness.  The Reader’s Digest version?  It began with a small lump in my upper thigh, perhaps the size of a peanut M&M.  Hypochondriac that I am prone to being, I asked the doctor during a visit for my Suboxyne.

“Probably a fatty tumor, I wouldn’t worry about it,” Peter said.

But you haven’t looked at it.  You didn’t ask me to take down my pants.  Like the doormat I was, I smiled and headed out the door.  I returned a month later, the M&M was now a small avocado.  Again, he didn’t even ask to see it.  Shame on me for not leaving the practice immediately; like I said, back then I was a completely different person, I scurried away with the nagging feeling that this was not over, not by a long shot.

By Christmas, I was in pathetic shape.  Constant fevers, mind numbing fatigue, aches and pains so brutal, I was incapable of walking most days.  My husband and I demanded to see another doctor in the process, and as I walked past the receptionist area-all heads turned to see the pathetic case in the shabby robe and bunny slippers.  The M&M was now a grapefruit.  I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why I didn’t seek help elsewhere.

The good doctor sent me for an ultrasound resulting in a uterine biopsy, which turned up nothing.  A week later I saw her in her office.

“I have Lyme disease.  I have done my research, please script me a month’s worth of Doxycycline.”

She teared up when she said, I’m so sorry, I didn’t think…

Within a month I was completely back to normal.  I took on a job as a Direct Support provider for a company who cared for those with Intellectual Disabilities-I worked like crazy, taking on as many hours as I could, so thankful to be “normal” again.

In 2017, I suffered two bullseye rashes at separate times-both treated with Doxy.  By 2018, I was given the diagnoses of Chronic Lyme.  I went through a hospitalization for vertigo, broke my shoulder on a hike (the disease affects the brain, and with that comes dreadful balance) and ended up with one hell of an infection in the very same lymph node.  I had no energy.  I was sick constantly-all through Winter and well into Spring.  I had to quit work, which devastated us financially.

Two weeks ago I was bitten, again, by a deer tick.  I put myself on my church prayer list, got on my knees and pled my case with Abba.  I felt so stymied and completely hopeless; wasn’t there a way?  I made an appointment with a specialist for October, and prayed.  My doctor was so inept, that when I asked him to order the Western Blot test (absolutely key in diagnoses) he told me no, that my insurance wouldn’t pay-

We know you have Lyme.  We don’t need a blood test.

I was frightened.  I asked Jesus, will this be my future?

Two weeks ago, after discovering the latest tick bite, I remembered a friend at church telling me that Stevia kills Lyme disease a few months back.  I bought the store brand, and occasionally put the way too sweet stuff in my coffee.  But this day, I was led to do some research.  You can’t get well using refined Stevia-it must come from the leaf extract.

I hurried to the local nursery and bought the last Stevia plant left.  I ate one leaf a day for one week.  The bullseye disappeared.  My symptoms vanished.  I now eat a leaf every other day.  A side effect of Stevia is that it kills the Borrelia Burgdorferi, the spirochete responsible for causing the illness and debilitating side effects.  You can order the extract on Amazon, which I will do to ensure I have access to the plant in the Winter months.

Please take my advice-give it to God, and never ever give up hope.  Through Christ you can do all things-He will give you the strength and fortitude-to move mountains-but we need to ask him first.

***This song is about Avril’s fight with Lyme.

Be blessed~

Checkpoint Charlie

 

 

I attended the funeral of a sister to a dear friend this morning.  The service was held in Kleinfeltersville, my home town.  As we entered the parking lot, we took note that it was a full house, and I smiled, sadly-remembering 15 years ago-when we buried my best friend, Barbie.  Today was about celebrating the life of Fran Compenhaver, who also happened to be Barbie’s sister.  I had never met her, but I am rather close to her family, in a myriad of ways.

Inspecting my latest tick bite, I shook my head, disgusted.   I cried out to God-what now?  I cannot continue on these antibiotics-they aren’t good for our kidneys and extended use can be extremely dangerous.  I had literally just finished the Doxycycline, and the fatigue, migraine and fever all screamed their bloody heads off-telling me that I had to do something different-after five years of going round and round with Lyme disease?  I knew I had to get truly serious and begin some research.

As I read, my mouth remained open to the point that saliva slid from the corner of my lips.  I couldn’t believe what I was reading:

From a Lyme disease specialist:  …so, antibiotics simply do not work in killing the spirochete that causes the disease itself.

“Craptastic,” I mutter, as my anxiety mounts to the point of near hysteria.

The article went on to say that even extended doses of doxy do not cure the disease: they kill the bacteria, yes, causing symptoms to recede, if not vanish completely.  Yet the spirochete remains, causing reoccurring and chronic Lyme.

ok, what the shit am I going to do?

I had made an appointment with a rheumatologist for October.  My physician may mean well, but he didn’t diagnose (let alone look  at my tender and swollen Lymph node) me.  I diagnosed myself six months later, when my husband and I burst into the practice the day after Christmas, 2013.  Luckily, I didn’t see my regular physician, this time a woman; a compassionate, understanding, well educated woman.

“I believe I have Lyme disease (I was drenching in sweat, wearing my tattered bathrobe-hadn’t even tried to comb my hair, and as the good doctor took note, was white as a ghost) please give me 30 days of Doxycycline and we’re done here.”  I ended up having to go for an ultrasound-the lymph node was now the size of a grapefruit; then a uterine biopsy, and then two years of normalcy, energy and strength.

Back to this morning.  My mouth was slack jaw because of the next few words:

In short, Stevia cures Lyme by killing the spirochete.  Here is the link to the article:

STEVIA?  Why, I had a Stevia plant in my garden.  I promptly ran out and picked the biggest leaf I could find, and swallowed the sweetness…and here’s where it gets good.  I had been feeling absolutely awful for a week.  As I sat in Dwain’s truck I did inventory.  I wasn’t stuffed up, my headache abated, lost energy returned and my mood improved dramatically…and the best part?  Seven days.  A leaf of Stevia for seven days.

This is how Jesus leads us, but we need to pray for ourselves as well.

Ask and you shall receive.

As we left the service, in which we reunited with dozens of friends we hadn’t seen since my recovery.  We were the partiers, the click, the druggies and the hippies.  We rocked Kleinfeltersville, shook it up a bit, got ourselves some reputations.  And here we were, together again-but this time complaining about aches and pains, sharing doctor’s numbers and hearing about other losses of which we had not a clue.

And as the crowd prepared to descend on the K-ville Hotel (our collective bar of choice) Dwain took my hand.  We walked in the other direction, somewhat stoic, older and wiser.

In loving memory

Barbie, you were with us today, and I know that with every fiber of my being~

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Barbara Ann Shipper

Please don’t take one another for granted, not even for a second.

Only God knows for whom the bell tolls.

 

 

After Two Years of Writing, a Celebration

 

This missive contains updated information and a whole bunch of love!!!  After blogging for two years now, I have come to a place of  gratitude and acceptance.  Yes, I really am a writer, and this fact had to be hammered home a million times…before I would believe.  I have worked in virtually every field you can imagine: waitress, hostess, legal secretary, health food, private duty nursing, hospice, radio, advertising, and at my lowest point a janitor for a local beer distributor.  I am quite sure I’ve left a few vocations out, but my point here is:  I never understood why my employment always ended in hysteria and self degradation.  It is now my understanding that God did indeed want me to write; my only regret is that I didn’t listen sooner.

I want to introduce myself to my new subs, and also thank each and every one of you who took the chance and subscribed!  Here’s a few things about me that you may not know, and the categories I have listed pretty much describes the subject matter I write on, have experience with,  and blabber about from time to time.

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My hero and therapy dog, Jesse Bocephus Hoffman.

I have struggled with a few things in this life, but God has always been with me, Jesus has never abandoned nor forsaken me.  I am not proud of so much of my drinking/drugging career-yet it has given me the compassion and understanding necessary to navigate this world untethered-by anyone or anything that tries to hold me back, namely being my family, but that’s another story for another day.

I love nature, gardening, animals, worship, and my husband-who made it possible for me to attain sobriety.  Those were frightening days, and there were times where homicidal ideation floated around in my mind…but suicide attempts were what manifested.

I suffer from depression, CPTSD, anxiety and Lyme.  I do not consider any of this a handicap, and neither should you.

Rejoice in this day the Lord has made!!!  Be glad in the perilous times, as the Holy Spirit is within, guiding you-after the storm His blessings are out of this world.

And jeepers creepers, gosh almighty…

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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These are for you~

Cats in the Cradle and the Silver Spoon

 

My week has yet to truly improve, as I remain my very own worst enemy.

It happened like this:  I wanted to light a candle for my Uncle Bill’s funeral, and, not being used to internet funeral arrangements, I wrote my condolences as well.  The caveat was that only family members could see the posts.  Oh, thank God, I thought-no one will see this but Aunt Irene and my cousins.

I wrote about the time uncle Bill came down to help my father out, financially, spiritually and physically.  I also wrote about my regret that I had not met up with him and Irene,  when the ceremonial of spreading daddy’s ashes took place some fifteen years ago.  My siblings, along with my aunt and uncle, went out on a boat at Lake George, and Bill had asked my brother why I was MIA.  

It must have looked awful.  But I went on to say that I had some pretty intense anger issues because my siblings had him cremated, and I was the one who had taken care of daddy until the end.  It just didn’t feel right.  I poured my heart out, and asked that one of the Elkins family reach out to me, as I think family terribly important-and I have lost half of mine.  I should say, they lost me.

One day I will write a book, including my journal entries over the last thirty years.  It will be my autobiography, and the title? Twisted Sister. 🙂

When you coming home dad, I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, son, we’re gonna have a good time then.

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Stubborn Love

 

Arrgghhhhhh!!!!  Why does my husband argue with me when HE KNOWS I’M RIGHT???

Sitting here, quietly trying to write a blog, and he argues a point about something I am well, very well informed.  He wants to believe what the news is telling him, he doesn’t want to hear about reality.  And I will grant him his request, as I have no intention of making my worrier, well, worry.  🙂

This morning, I had a well thought out blog.  You always think you’ll remember your stories, I mean, they are yours!  But no, my memory escapes me…so this writing will be about love.  I know, gee whiz, Michele-what a profound idea for a blog!!!

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My beautiful boy Dylan McDoogle Elkins-Hoffmananoff. You were my world baby.

Loving others ain’t for the weak of heart, nor the timid.  It hurts when you love-even in the best of scenarios-you will feel a bottomless pit of despair at some point in your relationship.  Dylan, my golden retriever, passed in January of 2015.  I had pled with God, and he was gracious enough to give us thirteen beautiful years.  I don’t remember the first five years of his life; because I drank my days away.  Some days, it adds to my grief.

Oh, and don’t think you’re getting out of the whole scene because you “put your walls up, nope, you’re not letting anybody into your kingdom.”  That’s such a load of bull excrement!!!!  The people who tell you they don’t want human interaction, especially the romantic kind?  They are the loneliest people of all.

My brother in law is almost sixty years old, and he has not even dated since his high school girlfriend broke his heart.  He brags about being a bachelor, and having all of the freedom in the world.  He does not know we see the despair, the hauntingly lonely look in his beautiful brown eyes.  He would make some woman a fabulous husband, with his generous heart and soulful peepers-he is a catch.  I fear women, and men for that matter, smell neediness a mile away-which breaks my heart because there are millions of people looking for love.  Millions.

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What is she searching for? Love, of course.

I am not saying that there aren’t people out there who are perfectly content on their own.  Some of these people are friends, who lost husbands they couldn’t think of replacing.  The fact is that men do worse alone than women.  Men take breakups harder and they live much longer lives if they remain married, or in a relationship.  I’m old fashioned and I love taking care of my husband.  Unfortunately, it’s the other way around so much of the time.  But he loves me madly and unconditionally-and I wish I could put him in my back pocket, and carry him around-we really do much better when we spend more time together, alas-that is impossible, I’m afraid.

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Fell madly in love with this face-at almost-first-sight. He’s as sexy to me now as he was 27 years ago.

We have fought tooth and nail, threatened divorce, strangled each other and I even had a secret three year PFA against me.  He abused me emotionally, to the point (with the combination of my sister) of suicidal ideation and virtually zero self esteem.  I was very sick and vulnerable.  I hadn’t learned boundaries because we weren’t raised with them.  I was broken and addicted.  Things changed when I became sober, but it took years for me and Jesus to get to the point of self love, self respect-the most important kind of love.  If you don’t love yourself baby girl?  You will attract the bottom dwellers, psychopaths and narcissists.  I praise God every day that Jesus and Dwain came together.  I have seen the Holy Spirit change his heart completely.  He is the man of my fairy tales, the man is my soul mate.  We argue now and then because there is a passion between us; I pray it never fades.  He has been my greatest gift, for better or worse.

Give and you will receive.  Your gift will return to you in full-pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap.  The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.                       Luke six:38  NLT

Sorry-my piece of &*%#@!! pc will not type the numbers four or six.  🙂

 

This Town…

 

I know I’m pissing my poor husband off…he hates it when I’m on the computer whilst he is in the room.  If I wanted him to pay attention to me, all I have to do is sit down, relax and get down with my pc-he will appear out of nowhere.  In 1995, he time travelled while hunting in Idaho…

Are you on the fucking computer????!!!!,”  he said to me, during a five minute conversation, from his chalet in Island Park.

Anyhooser, I digress.   I want to personally and publicly thank those of you who have reached out to me after yesterday’s blog, in which I pretty much fell apart in front of my beloved audience, as small as it may be.  I believe it to have been a small cry for help, and your love and support means everything, everything to me.

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My facial expression, 99% of the time. Mildly alarmed…

There are many aspects to Lyme disease, involving many different issues, symptoms and manifestations.  I find it challenging to take the mood swings in addition to my anxiety and depression.  And with each new round of antibiotics-the doxycycline, a gift  from God-the game is different than the time before; stages intermix, and I am once again baffled at the incredible ways in which Abba brings us close to Him-reigns us in like the loving, all knowing father that he is:  now and for eternity.  I have it on pretty good authority that if Jesus wants to get your attention?  Well, he will move mountains to do so.  In an obsessive-compulsive drive to keep my house clean, hike and garden, care for my animals, volunteer and attend an exercise class twice a week-I was not shocked when the Holy Spirit spoke to me this morn, telling me it wouldn’t have to be this way if I took better care of myself.

See-I am in denial when it comes to my disabilities, or any limitations whatsoever.  I just push through each day until I can push no longer.  So, I know He will not waste our time together-I hope to truly learn to care for myself this time.  Eat breakfast, slow down, treat yourself as you would a loved one.   Eat the ice cream.  Wear the new shoes.  Sleep in until the dog can’t take another minute…make it a daily practice.  Rinse and repeat.

So, this morning?  I couldn’t take missing one more exercise class-it had been two weeks and I could hear what little muscle I have gained-I could hear it turning to flab.  I wasn’t feeling well enough to attend, and the longer I missed, the harder it was to go back.

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As I grabbed my bag to head out the door, I asked Dwain to please feed the dog.  He works from home in the morning, and said he had “things to do.”  I gave him the sweet mother Mary and all of the angels and saints, I haven’t done a thing for myself in months and I am going to this class so help me Mother Theresa look.

Delores, our fearless leader and sweetest woman alive, was pulling in just as I parked.  I teased her about her parking skills, and we shared easy laughter.  I explained why I hadn’t been around, and she soothed my soul by her words of comfort and care.  Twenty of the best women I know filed in to the church.

Amidst the greetings, I hear Delores announcing to the class that I had a new Lyme diagnoses.

“She needs hugs.”

And then it began-the tremendous outpouring of love and concern.  These women know the girl code.  They are older, wiser and not prone to vanity or snarky competition.  They have seen a thing or two that left their heart in shambles.  They know what matters in life.

And as I tripped over the volley ball, and slid across the newly waxed gym floor?  I laughed out loud.

I laughed until I cried.