Okay, so nothing too profound with this post, but I want to just take this time out to be perfectly honest...."'cause there's a lot of stuff I keep bottled that hurts deep inside of my soul, and just know that I--"
Whoa. Sorry about that. Every once in a while I start a sentence and then the whole "breaking-out-into-Em-lyrics" thing happens. Back to the point of the post now.
In all seriousness, though, I wanted to write this post to shed light on one of the least glamorous (read: least socially acceptable to talk abut because it's not pretty) aspects of this illness, because while I am positive most of the time, and even though I never doubt that God knows what He's doing, there are moments when I would trade just about anything to be rid of this illness (these illnesses). I think we all would, right?
When I was first diagnosed, I became an avid consumer of all information I could find about this journey--and while articles written by medical professionals were wonderfully educational, the personal testimonies I found, the firsthand experiences people shared that showed me I am not alone in all of this madness, were some of the things I found solace in the most. I will admit that it's easy to get dragged down if you constantly read about the negative experiences of others on every bulletin board/forum you can find--and yes, that happened to me at first--but once you learn to sift through the massive amounts of information and testimonies out there, finding others whose stories are so similar to your own is such a great feeling. Not that you want anyone else to deal with it all, but just that you finally know you're not crazy, not a hypochondriac, and not alone.
And there are some instances where the most effective thing to read is someone sharing his/her experience with a particular symptom (usually a strange one, and usually one that you have experienced but thought no one else understood), as well as what helps him/her get through those moments. So without further ado, and in the interest of full disclosure with the hope that this may help one of you reading this, here's what's currently happening in my house (as I write this sentence, it's 3:34am).
We went to bed around 10:30 tonight. I probably got to sleep around midnight, which is quicker than my usual go to bed/go to sleep transition happens. At 2:15 I was jolted awake by a combination of symptoms: overheating, air hunger, severe unrelenting nausea, my right hand continually shaking/spasming (similar to the motion you'd see in someone who had Parkinson's/ALS), and every ten seconds or so my entire body was doing this tensing/jerking/convulsing motion that lasts a few seconds at a time. I lied there for ten minutes with this happening, stubbornly willing it to go away, but knowing exactly what was happening--a herx was starting--and knowing it wasn't going to ease until I took action in the form of detox to get rid of all these toxins that were having the equivalent of a rave inside my body.
Now, I hate hate hate hate waking up Rog in the middle of the night for anything, because he already does so much for me day in and day out, but I knew I couldn't take care of this one on my own, so I woke him (probably in the middle of his REM cycle), and explained to him how I was feeling and that I needed him to do three specific things for me:
1.) Get my burbur detox drops and a cup of water to put them in to drink.
2.) Get my Atarax (a prescription antihistamine my doctor gave me to have on hand to take when herxing strikes, because herxing releases histamine--note: if you don't have a prescription antihistamine, I recommend keeping Benadryl on hand and popping one or two) so I could take one.
3.) Fix a pot of my coffee (organic, caffeinated) to fill my enema bag so I could do a coffee enema to get rid of a lot of these little buggers/toxins.
And, because he is the most wonderful husband known to man, he immediately got up (it was then 2:45am) and did all three for me without one word of complaint, because he knows how unpredictable and insufferable this whole process can be.
So I immediately took the Atarax and one dose of burbur, and then had him pour the coffee into the enema bag for me (I usually do this myself, but with my right hand moving uncontrollably, it wasn't exactly something I wanted to try). Thankfully the rest of the coffee enema process doesn't involve as much control/balance/precision as pouring coffee without spilling does, so I told him to go back to bed and try to sleep while I handled the rest of it. For those of you who are reading this thinking, "She did WHAT with WHAT and WHERE?!" allow me to share my firsthand experience with (and non-professional opinion about) coffee enemas.
I'll admit, the first time I heard of coffee enemas, roughly a year ago, I thought it sounded like a crazy remedy people latched into when they were desperate, but that couldn't possible help as much as people say they do. And I'm aware there are some people out there ("normal" people and medical professionals) who think they're not helpful, but I'm telling you right now those people are wrong. When I saw my wonderful doctor for the first time last December, I had read a lot about coffee enemas but hadn't yet tried one myself. Thankfully, he brought it up during my appointment, which was when I decided 100% that I was going to try it.
A one-sentence description of how coffee enemas that is nowhere near comprehensive but should sill provide you with basic information is this, taken from a one-page overview written by the Gerson Institute (where coffee enemas originated):
The purpose of the enemas is to remove toxins accumulated in the liver and to remove free radicals from the bloodstream."
Pretty neat, right? Especially when so many of us have issues with not being able to detox enough. But the benefits are numerous, ranging from relieving headaches, nausea, fatigue, bloating, indigestion, to removing toxins, yeast, parasites, and more in your intestinal tract, making your body more alkaline, activating your lymphatic system,improving your skin, and the list continues. For a super in-depth description on every aspect of coffee enemas (including instructions for how to do them), I'd recommend clicking here.
My experience with coffee enemas over the past 6 months has made me a believer, big-time. Coffee enemas regularly save me from otherwise-unrelieved nausea, fatigue, "heavy" toxic-overload feelings, headaches, multiple digestive issues, and more. Yes, it can be a little awkward at first because it seems counterintuitive (isn't coffee supposed to go into the other end?), but once you've done the process a few times it becomes second nature, I promise! Even if I'm not having a flare up or herx, I do maintenance coffee enemas at least once (usually twice) a week to give my body that extra push it needs to get rid of toxins.
So, back to my story of how my night is going, when I started writing this post I was lying on my bathroom floor at 3:30am getting ready to do some major detoxification. No, it's not a pretty subject to talk about, but Lyme & Co isn't exactly a "pretty" thing to fight, and I'm willing to share anything at all that may help someone else along the way.
At this point, I've taken one Atarax, had two doses of burbur, and finished an ultra-detoxifying coffee enena, and I'm glad to report that even though I'm exhausted, my convulsing, shaking, overheating, and nausea have stopped. Also, the exhaustion I feel right now is most definitely the Atarax kicking in (it makes me tired--similar to Benadryl except more effective), so I'm gonna try this sleep thing again.
One last thought before I close:
This entire journey isn't something anyone can be prepared for or anticipate as a possibility when embarking on the journey that is marriage--and with our 3-year anniversary coming up on Wednesday, I've been thinking a lot lately about how much we've been through together in just these first three years and how absolutely blessed I am to have someone who truly embodies the spirit behind the "in sickness and in health" section of our vows. If it were up to us, we obviously wouldn't have chosen to endure these trials, but through all of this mess God has proven over and over (and over and over...) again that He's in control, that He takes care of His children, and that He will always make a way where there seems to be no way in sight. So really, throughout these first few years, we've been able to develop a level of trust in Him, and a level of devotion to each other, I'd venture to say takes many couples quite a bit longer to develop. And as always, I want to give all the glory to God for that.