It took a long time to recover from major abdominal surgery, but I felt like I had a chance to get my strength back, now that I didn't have the anemia and massive blood-loss to contend with. I began to feel SO good for SO long that I began to wonder if, in effect, 'having my oil changed' via the transfusion had actually done something incredible for the lyme. I went for a number of years without a symptom.
Eventually I was up to taking on a huge, full-time job as the head gardener for a farm/conference center. I lived on the property and most of the gardens were within a huge fenced-in area, where I let myself feel safe from the deer ticks.
I KNOW the day I was bitten again (although I never saw the rash or ring). The project was to plant 42 blueberry bushes OUTSIDE the fenced area in a swampy meadow. I clearly remember THINKING that I should take the time to scoot to my house and get my tick repellent, but the front-end loader operator was waiting impatiently for me. And I didn't.
I don't think it was a week later that there was the "Oh, NO!" heard 'round the county as the symptoms came upon me. I start taking GrapeFruit Seed tablets hoping beyond HOPE that it's something ELSE, just some summer 'bug'. When I feel remarkably better in a few days I figure it was just a scare and I STOP taking the GrapeFruitSeed. (foolish, foolish woman!) A few days later, I am climbing through the stress of financing my first car and I'm not handling it at all well. When I bring my new car home, I am so sick and miserable I don't even want to drive it.
Yup, it was Lyme.
After the initial 'oh am I SICK' waves crash over me, I remember clearly waking up one morning IN PAIN. Every joint in both legs. Horribly, HORRIBLY familiar. Let me tell you something about going down for the SIXTH time. They pick up where they left
off, these spirochetes. Here I have something of a dream job with a house attached to it, I can't DO this again.
So, armed with Health Insurance, I head off to the doctor's (not Doc Probenicid). Dr Wolfe knows I know I have lyme when I have lyme! She puts me right on Doxy WHILE we wait for the test results to come back. They're OFF the chart. I struggle to stay at my job. Now the NERVES in my legs are beginning to act up and I'm beginning to fear driving, as they don't seem so connected to my brain. I find myself clutching the greenhouse bench so I can stay upright and finish watering. I'm eating Advil for breakfast again. A full month of Doxy and Grapefruit seed with and beyond it, and I manage to get through the acute stuff, but I'm still struggling with my joints and nerves. I have Reiki treatments, energy work, everything seems to help SOME. Eventually I begin to recover yet again. I'm pausing here to try to remember why I'm not writing that I did Eileen's herbs again. I know I didn't, I just don't recall what made me decide not to.
So I came back to life yet again, things returned to something like normal, but I was jumping out of my skin all the time. My gardens felt like a hostile place. Stress was getting to me, living where I work and putting in endlessly long weeks was getting to me, and that next summer I was hit yet AGAIN. I had no StressDealers left and eventually I made the choice to give up my house on the property and move off-site, hoping to run the gardening department as a part-time manager. THIS time my nerves were in truly SERIOUS trouble. Back on the Doxy, back on the Grapefruit Seed, but I'm not winning this time. My legs are giving out on me. At this point, Matthew Wood's book, "The Book of Herbal Wisdom" is recommended to me and I read his chapter on Teasel with great interest. He profiles five patients, 2 of which exhibit painful genital lesions on their way to getting well. I can't risk that and continue to work.
In the midst of all this, I help to mastermind a 30-something-th High School Class reunion and in the photos from it I can still SEE just how incredibly SICK I was. Totally hanging by a thread. I can see the pain in my hands and everyone had to come talk to me where I SAT. A week later my mother died. I knew I could not POSSIBLY fly to Nevada to attend her funeral. Turned out the funeral came back East to New York and she was buried with my father. The thread I was hanging by had gone spider-thin.
Not long after that my nerves completely BLEW and I had a massive 'personal earthquake'. I was shaking so badly, and my right side was going out on me, that I couldn't dial the phone for help. I could hardly type, I was completely terrified. I FINALLY got hold of my garden assistant and begged her to come take me to SOMEbody. I was in tears. I couldn't put my shoes on, couldn't fill out the forms when we got to the emergency room, and there we sat.......FOR THREE HOURS. Nobody dealt with me at all. They saw the "L" word on my chart and in SOMEbody's book, I was no emergency. The earthquake subsided, they usually do, and we just left.
During this chapter I clearly remember saying something to a woman in a health food store that I had Lyme and she looked right at me and PRONOUNCED: “You KNOW, you NEVER get RID of it.” With those words, I felt my whole immune system just crash. I was furious. What a horrible thing to say. And I TOLD her so.
I had to stop driving again, I have a clear memory of having a friend take me to a laundromat and I couldn't work the machine. She had to put the coins in for me and close the door. I began to research herbs to help heal the damage. I took a great deal of St John's wort tincture which began to bring my nerves back around. I went to my hypnotherapy teacher and begged him to DO SOMETHING. He really was shocked at just how SICK I was. I lay down on the table and he did energy work on me and he must have VAPORIZED an entire civilization of spirochetes as I went into a Herxheimer reaction (what I came to call Expirochete Poisoning) SO badly the next day I was either afraid I WAS going to die or afraid I WASN'T. I don't know when I've ever cried so much. But the day after that, once I got a grip and realized what had happened, I felt myself turn a corner. I truly began to recover (yet again)
I eventually quit the gardening job altogether, took a job at a health food store, actually felt well enough to take up BellyDancing, and opened my own healing center which was too far off the beaten path to draw the kinds of class enrollment I needed. I was in a rage that the only thing that has ever made me a living had been taken away by the confounded ticks. I ran out of money before the inheritance came in from my mother's estate and I seriously considered living in my car.
I'm not being over-dramatic, that was the option.
At the 11th hour, a dear herbalist friend offers to let me stay in a small basement apartment. I got me some friends with WINGS, I do, I surely do.
<on to the final round>