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I’m convinced that life’s pleasures are found in the simple things. A sunrise. A cup of tea. A fresh baked cookie. A hug. A letter in the mail. A new book. A favorite song.
I think you get the idea…
I’m going to (attempt) to begin a new series of posts where I’ll share some of the simple things that get me through my days.
I’ll give you a hint of today’s simple pleasure.
Can you guess?
 

cupcake cups, originally uploaded by maedchenmitherz.

 

Yes. I have one word for you: Cupcakes! This is no laughing matter. Cupcakes are to be taken very, very seriously. Got it? This is important stuff we’re dealing with here!

Or, you can be like me and throw caution to the wind as you dare to enter the world of refined sugar and gluten-free baked treats. Come join me!

I woke up this morning and stifled a groan. I don’t wake up well. At all. My joints feel stiff, my muscles ache, my head is heavy, my eyes are dry and I’m usually starving from not eating much for dinner the night before. I always hate the first steps out of bed that capture the Bartonella pains in the soles of my feet.

I staggered out to the kitchen this morning, and that’s all I remember. Next thing I know I’m cutting a grapefruit, making toast, and spilling peanut butter. Who knows how much time had passed, but I didn’t care. I was hungry for a change. And I was thinking. Today, I would make cupcakes. Yes, it sounded like a wonderful idea!

Lately, I’ve coped with my bad days by spending more time in the kitchen. Whole days have gone by that I’ve accomplished little more than having dinner ready, or planning a new meal, or researching a new ingredient. I can’t seem to sit still, or concentrate on anything.

But cooking makes me happy. I’m creating something with my own two hands to share. It fills a gap in my life that I’d forgotten about until recently. And, for now I can still measure, pour, mix, chop, simmer, and season. My mind can still comprehend recipe instructions. I just can’t always eat. I’m working on that one. Baby steps, baby steps.

So today I made cupcakes!

 

More simple things to come.

Happy cooking, molly

 

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

– Confucius

Ah. I love baking. It’s such a calming experience. I feel so much more relaxed after time in the kitchen (on most days). Tonight I had 3 very overripe  bananas – that had accidentally ripped open this morning – sitting on my counter. What to do, oh what to do?

Banana bread of course!

I have no clue why, but I’ve been craving banana bread for the past 3 weeks. I’d made a loaf a few weeks ago when the craving began that was delicious, but of course when I went looking for it I couldn’t remember which recipe I’d made! Well, to be honest, at first I couldn’t even find it. Then – aren’t I smart? – I thought to look in our growing GF cookbook binder. Sadly, I found several banana bread recipes there and not just one. That would have been too easy.

Confusion ensued.

In the end I gave up and decided to go searching for a new recipe. A better recipe. I’ve experimented with stevia sweetened baked goods. I’ve even had a few good results! But the recipe I found tonight is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Ok, so maybe not that dramatic. But it is delicious!

It’s gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free and yeast-free! Guilt-free goodness, my Lyme friends!

It’s not beautiful, but here’s a photo:

Banana Bread Remains

It tasted better than it looks, I promise! The bread stuck in my pan and the entire loaf fell apart. Better luck next time. Hey, at least I got to eat the middle part first (my favorite). I’ll post the recipe eventually. I want to make a few revisions to it still.

I know what I’m having for breakfast. Yum!

Peace and healing, molly

 

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” – Dalai Lama

1st Lyme Year

As promised, here’s the celebratory photos from January 1st. Me and my gluten-free cupcake! Yes, yes, lots of sugar in it but I didn’t care. It was delicious!

My 1st Lyme anniversary of treatment seemed like something to celebrate!

Lyme-iversary 1

I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok
I just want to be ok today

–Ingrid Michaelson

School begins in a week. I checked, it’s the 8th. For weeks I’ve put off looking up which day it is that I start my senior year, hoping, and yes perhaps clinging to the idea that if I didn’t know the actual date my lingering last weeks of summer would last longer. If that piece of logic escapes you, please don’t ask me to explain further. I’ve often been told I have a very original sense of logic. I like it, it suits me just fine!

 

As I sit here writing this I’m up at my cabin for the last time this summer enjoying a relaxing weekend escape. My dad jokingly kicked my mom and I out of the house on Friday morning, taking the opportunity to work on a few projects around the house.  My brother’s wedding is sneaking up on us in a few short weeks and we’ve got plenty to do still! Obviously my mom and I had no arguments and gladly escaped! The weekend has been a wet one, with rain almost every day. Since rain = pain I’ve been a little uncomfortable, but it’s been nice all the same.

 

We didn’t arrive here until late Friday night, but luckily I’d packed enough gluten-free snacks for the car that we didn’t have to stop to eat on the way. We’ve gotten sick too many times trying to do that. We’re learning, slowly but surely. Then as we ate our small dinner that night we caught the amazing Packer’s pre-season game!! Yes, it was amazing. I screamed so much I was afraid I’d go hoarse. You’ve been warned – I am a Green Bay Packer fan, and I’m proud of it. And yes, I do live in Minnesota the new home of Brett Favre. But, I’m not going to go into that here – I really just enjoy watching the games, not talking about the politics.

 

Yesterday we spent the day inside, snug and cozy watching a few Alfred Hitchcock movies (my favorite!) and reading our books. What would a vacation be without some reading time? Then, a delicious dinner and we spent the evening listening to my cousin play at a local bar. That was so much fun! I love listening to him play, and it was fun to hear some new songs from him. I’m impressed with myself too though. The bar was loud, had ceiling fans, and cigarette smoke. All of which I have issues with! But last night, I had a great time and only had a few minutes where things seemed overwhelming. I spent much more time laughing, smiling, and clapping than I did thinking about how I was feeling. It was nice to get out, and let go for a night. Usually I’m very aware of how I’m feeling at any given moment. And it gets tiring, ironically enough.

 

Today I did feel a little worse for the wear, sleeping in late and waking up in pain. But today was an important day. Today was the day we decided that I would start the Cumanda tincture I’ve talked about. I’m not sure what to expect, a huge herx or nothing. Either way, I’m taking a super low dose of 1 drop twice daily to begin with. On Wednesday morning I’m going in to have my co-infection panel. We’re hoping that the Cumanda will help bring out a reaction in my immune system that will show up in the blood test.

 

I’m praying, for what I’m not exactly sure but I’m praying about it all the same.

 

It’s been a nice weekend, but it ends tomorrow morning. Back home and back to summer homework for me. I’m thankful we got the chance to make it up here once more though. I love it here. It’s very grounding for me. I seem to get lost in the time I spend here. It slips by so fast! And I’m glad I got the chance to spend some time with my great grandparents today too. One small hiccup- it was too cold to swim! This is August still, I should have been able to swim! But, no. The weather certainly didn’t cooperate.

 

Peace and healing, molly

 

“Love life, engage in it, give it all you’ve got. Love it with a passion, because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.” ~ Maya Angelou

Lately, I’ve been working to make sure and do what’s best for me right now, in the moment, as it happens. Most of my minutes however, seem planned out. I wake up, and have supplements and probiotics to take. Then I have to wait at least an hour until I can eat breakfast. I read the paper, wander out to my raspberry patch to pick a few berries, check my Facebook and Twitter. You know, all the normal things. Then suddenly I have to think about when I’m allowed to take my vitamins, and my afternoon medications, and my early evening medications, and then my nightly dose of fiber, and then, my night medications. It’s a lot. It’s really a lot. Add onto that summer school and you have one tired girl. It feels as if moment after moment I have something, somewhere, that I should be doing, or taking.

 

One of those things is my detox baths. I do like taking them. The Epsom salt in them makes the steaming hot water not hurt my muscles, which used to be the case. I couldn’t take baths for years because the hot water would make me feel horrible. I’ve tried to make them as enjoyable as possible. I have a plethora of essential oils to choose from and add depending on my mood or how I’m feeling. So in the winter these baths are wonderful. Quite pleasant. Extremely tiring and exhausting, yes; but worth the effort to detox my body. I can tell when I need it. However…

 

Piping hot Epsom salt detox baths are fine in the freezing Minnesota winter months, but in the summer heat I’m strangely not drawn to them. I wonder, “Where’s my motivation?”. And then I realize, “Oh yeah; The motivation is not feeling like crap any more!”. So I go run a bath, sweat it up, and don’t accomplish much of anything for the rest of the day. Yeah, sounds about right.

 

I’m exhausted now, and I didn’t even have time for a bath today. Instead my mom and I took a trip out to a local natural foods store to check out their Gluten-free options. We went in searching for bulk flours and a loaf of bread. A few hours and a cart of of Gluten-free goodies later, we heard a voice. Turned out to be the loudspeaker, thank God, announcing that the sale of 10% off all your Gluten-free food items would be over in 10 minutes. Needless to say, we dropped the search for a  bread mix and ran to the register!

 

In that store I was in heaven! All Gluten-free items were marked with red tags on the shelf. Do you know how much simpler that made our shopping? They had so many options for us to choose over we were almost overwhelmed. Perhaps the most thrilling is their selection of bulk flours. So much more inexpensive than we’re used to paying! We found noodles, pizza crusts, bread sticks, pretzels, oatmeal, and goat milk yogurt! And so much more. No question about it – we’ll be going back! We must have been there a few hours. Sure, we’ve seen a lot of these things before. But this time we given options, so many more ideas, products, and foods that we could trust.

 

So what did we do when we got home? My mom and I dug up all the empty jars in the basement and labeled our new bulk flours, rice, and noodles. They all have red tags on them clearly stating that they’re Gluten-free with the cooking directions right there. Every time I open that cabinet I just get a smile on my face. Our food, and my dad’s food, all arranged neat and tidy. I need to be able to see my food, or I’ll forget it’s there. Honestly!  I also cleared out all our kitchen food cabinets. I rearranged, threw out, and emptied the contents. One shelf is now only and completely Gluten-free. There’s no crumbs in it and no confusion involved. I know that I can eat every single thing on that shelf! I feel so liberated!

 

Liberated and dead tired that is. I probably did altogether too much stuff today, but it made me happy at the time. I think that must count for something. I believe that I am in the middle of a herx right now though. I’m now on my third week of my newest treatment plan. One week on antibiotics, one week off, and this week I’ve gone back on again. It’s been hard, I won’t lie. My daily headaches are back, as well at the nausea and dizziness, the shakiness, and the pain. I’ve worked though some of it because I need to finish my summer course soon, but there have been times that I knew I needed to stop. I just needed to rest, take a break, and let my body do it’s job.

 

Sometimes, that’s all you can do.

 

Peace and healing, molly

 

“When an illness knocks you on your ass, you should stay down and relax for a while before trying to get back up. “ ~ Candea Core-Starke

Yes, yes I know. I’ve been slack in updating lately. I fully acknowledge it! The last few months have held so many ups and downs that I’m exhausted just trying to think about it. Trying being the key word there, as I’m already exhausted before even trying to think. Quite a conundrum, I’d say.

 

So, wow. Six months of treatment for my Lyme. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it. The hardest aspect of this update is accepting that just a few months ago I hit the point where I felt as badly as I had last winter in November and December. That’s huge. I hadn’t felt like that in all of these months. And I hit this low while I was off my antibiotics. Am I really getting better yet? I don’t know. Right now, I don’t feel like I am. But I’m holding onto my favorite affirmation: Everything is getting better every day.

 

Today marks the end of my first week back on antibiotics after my Mayo experience. I’m still not feeling quite myself. I feel a disconnect between my mind and my body. My brain fog is insane right now. I can’t keep a thought in my mind. I’ve got a constant headache, and I’m so very tired. It feels as if it take a huge effort on my part to accomplish anything.

 

I have accomplished a lot lately, but perhaps I took too much on. Again, I don’t know.

 

My LLMD feels that being taken off the Levaquin is what finally brought my intracranial pressure down. She’s comfortable putting me back on her treatment plan, but we’re proceeding cautiously. I wish it could be more aggressive though. I want to see the end of the tunnel, not just know that it’s there. You know? So currently I’ve got a week on antibiotics and then a week off. I see her again on the 14th to check in and learn what will come next. She’s keeping an eye on my adrenal functions now too. I’ve begun taking a low dose of licorice extract each morning hoping to up my cortisol  levels. Their low functioning might be what causing some of my deep fatigue.

 

In the meantime, my eye specialist isn’t completely assured by Mayo’s findings. I go in to see her on the 15th, and will hopefully be able to start lowering my dose of medication controlling my spinal pressure. We’ve found that many of it’s side-affects are actually my Lyme symptoms. It would be nice to know which they’re being caused by!

 

I’m still enjoying the time at my cabin. It’s been so wonderful to be out of school and able to relax finally. At the same time, it’s been a bit overwhelming so far. The sound level is tough. Loud sounds cause my dizziness and nausea to increase. I’ve got super sensitive hearing as a symptom. Hopefully I’ll still be able to be myself and have some fun with my family this week!

 

Peace and healing, molly

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