Monday, September 29, 2008

Dear Mr. H

I promised I wouldn't blog about the election anymore so I'll let the Yarn Harlot say it for me (I don't claim to agree or disagree with what she says, it's just interesting).

Shutting down kids' farmstand

Shutting down kids' farmstand sends all the wrong signals

All I have to say is 'Wow! I'm socked and dismayed.'

many blood sucking insects

I can't believe I blogged about politics. It's not like me at all. Or, at least, I didn't think it was. Hopefully I haven't offended any-one's favourite party so badly that you won't come back.

This election thing is really frustrating to me. I really want to vote for someone (Thanks for the idea about writing to them re. Lyme. It's a good idea. Problem is that health care is governed by the province. Then again, the province seems to have failed me, so it might be time to go the next level up.), even if I don't think that democracy is the best-est thing in the world. Even Aristotle had his doubts. No really, he did. Read it some time; his critique is amazingly relevant to this day and age. But this democratic-like system is the best we have and I feel that if I don't participate then I don't have the right to complain about it when everything goes to pot.

The last election, people seemed to care around here. My friends (many of whom I'm not allowed to talk politics with under normal circumstances - we have different points of view on certain issues) got together and watched the leadership debates. It was fun. The leaders got up and yelled at each other about who was the most Francophone. Not a great move during the English debate. The language issue is still a bit sore out West. I personally don't mind having two official languages even if I only speak one of them. But some people I know are rather bitter about the affirmative action thing. But the point of that is that my friends and I, despite our different political views, had fun watching politics. This time around, no one even talks about it.

There I am going on about politics again. I really need to stop that.

So here's a joke:

Q: What do you call many blood sucking insects?

A: Poly tics (politics)

In bad taste? Perhaps. But then again, if anyone knows a thing or two about the danger of ticks, I think that's me.

And my promise to you - since I've run out of feet to put into my mouth - is that unless something really funny or exciting happens during this election, I won't talk about it any more.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Election Canada 2008 and Rick Mercer

Oh Rick Mercer, you are so adorable. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't even know there was an election going on. I mean, honestly. I can drive for over half an hour and see maybe five election signs. I wonder if the Green Party is using eco-friendly plastic for their signs yet?

Maybe it's just because we live on the West Coast. It's really far away from all the 'fun'. I mean, our economy isn't tanking like it is in the 'far east' (Ontario). Maybe it's the pot fumes (this part of the world is famous for that) or the mild weather, but no one here seems to care about the election and the people running barely care about us. I have a feeling that voter apathy is going to be number one on the menu out here.

I'll vote, sure, but what exactly am I voting for? My memory isn't so short that I forget the corruption of the Liberals, and besides, have you seen the guy who runs that party? The attack adds actual paint him in a favourable light (sorry, it's just how I feel about you - you do know you are a scape goat for the party, right?). The Green Party (who I voted for last time) not only threw their support in with the Liberals (quickest possible way to loose my support), but I'm pretty certain that if they used eco-friendly materials for their signs they would say so. If you can't run a green campaign, in my limited opinion, there is no way you are up for running a green country. What about the NDP? I'm sure they are very nice people, but they have never said anything to endear me to them. The incumbent? Lesser of all evils - by that I mean they kept a couple of election promises. Other than that, I don't really like them either. I think at this stage, I'm more likely to act like a true Canadian: to vote against the people I like least rather than voting for a party I believe in.


But I was talking about how charming and funny Rick Mercer is. He can find something entertaining in the most boring of election campaigns. Have a look.

I also love what he says about blogs. It's so true:

...ordinary Canadians don't spend a lot of time reading blogs because ordinary
Canadians know that blogs are basically the domain of idiots, mad people and
news anchors. ...


I'm not a news anchor, I'm not an idiot...I guess my high school counselor was right about me.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Great grains batman

Our grain order arrived.


Some oats, rice, white wheat and spelt. All but the rice is to be milled by us using our counter top grain mill as we need it. Given the recent price increase of staples in the last 24 months (the price has quadrupled for flour alone), buying organic grains in this format from semi-local farms ends up being cheaper than buying regular old flour. It's also healthier too as there is less nutrition lost through processing and storage.


I doubt that this will last the year, but we decided to start small in order to see how long it does last, then next year we can order based on what we use.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Yurt Experience


For this month’s trip to Seattle, I decided to investigate yurts.


I’m not all that keen on these trips down to see the specialist. They would be fun except for the fact that I haven’t the energy to enjoy them. I do my best to make them interesting and I figured that seeing that I have to sleep somewhere and seeing that I like yurts so much these days, it only made sense that I sleep in a yurt. It also cut the accommodation costs in half (but increases the fuel cost by about the same amount as we saved).



It was quite the experience and one I think I’ll repeat some day. It was like camping without all the things I dislike about camping. The yurt was made of canvas with a layer of space bubble wrap (shiny insulation stuff), had a wooden floor and nice, sturdy wooden frame. It felt very sturdy and secure, even with the large, unidentified animal roving the campground at night (possibly a dear, maybe an elk, perhaps even a bear, though most likely a heavy breathing 7 foot tall man). There was an electric light and even a (broken) heater. Near the yurt was a cooking shelter with (guess what) electricity. We were able to cook ourselves a reasonable meal with not much more effort than we would at home. I’m also a big fan of the running water from a stand pipe, even if it was freezing.





When we first arrived, we opened the roof and a window (there were three with mosquito netting on them) to air out the yurt, but closed it up again before it started to get too cold. It retained the heat fairly well but would have been far more comfortable if we had gotten one with a working heater. I managed to keep myself warm with some hot water bottles and a copious number of blankets.



To ensure that we had the complete yurt experience, it even rained over night. The sound of the rain on the yurt was like a beautiful, though slightly loud, music. I’ve lived in an apartment too long to remember what it is like to hear the pitter patter of rain falling on the roof. I didn’t realize how much I miss that sound.


Sleeping in the yurt was like being inside of a giant eye that was gently gazing up at the heavens. The Plexiglas top allowed the ambient light to create a soft glow in the yurt during the night and in the day it was plenty bright enough without being too sunny.


Overall, I was surprised as to how large the yurt felt. This yurt had furniture to comfortably fit five people and I suspect I could squeeze a loom and a few other fibre goodies into a yurt this size.



Staying in a yurt overnight is not the same as living in a yurt (one of my life goals), but it is a nice taste to see how I feel about yurts. I still like them very much but believe that when winter comes, they need a source of heat.

The yurt I stayed in was made by Pacific Yurts and the campground was Kayak Point.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

wow, I have friends

I don't know how to say this. I'm overwhelmed by the kindness and support of my friends.

I've never felt this before. I know you are thinking, surely I've had friends before. I have, but never like this. Maybe because I've moved around a lot in my youth or for some other reason; but I've never felt at home with people before. This is something new. They feel like family. I mean the good kind of family that you want to spend all your time with. They make the world seem like a friendly place after all.

Friends like these are better than any medicine (sounds like a greeting card, I know, but there is truth to it).

Monday, September 22, 2008

Technology

So, I tried solving technological problems with technology. My attempts to transfer my text books to my PDA are, what's the word, futile.

The new technology doesn't want to talk to the old technology, the old technology isn't speaking to the new technology, and I'm not in the mood to speak to either of them. The more I try to use technology to fix this problem, the more it not only fails to fix the problem, but adds it's own issues to the equation.

I really miss being able to read from books for long periods of time.

Perhaps this is the universe telling me it's time to give up on university and move out to a farm somewhere.


Good news: I'm now allowed to knit for five minuet intervals once or twice a day. It's only been 3 months of not knitting.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bestest Socks EVER!



Yarn people are amazing.



These are my new socks thanks to sarsbar.






I adore them. She chose the yarn I love best for socks (Briggs & Little) and a pattern I'm completely enamored with. Do you recognize it?






Here's a hint.






Yep, it's my (yet unnamed) sweater that I designed and knit. It has the same pattern in the socks as it does in the sweater. They match. It makes me smile.






Thanks sarsbar.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Socks

I need to tell you about the sock exchange, but I'm so tired. Here's a tease.




What a fantastic collection of socks. I'm amazed at every one's mad knitting skills.


Can you guess which ones are mine? It's a trick question, I couldn't knit thanks to a series of unfortunate events, so mine is the envelope containing a promissory note for future socks.


Can you guess which ones I received? A hint, they are the ones that best match my personality. I'm so lucky.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I wonder...

I wonder, is it wrong of me to skip class just so I can have the energy to go to Guild tonight?

Nah, guild is more important.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

There is a reason why I like yarn people

The Victoria Handweaves' and Spinners' Guild sent me a lovely get well card.


The amount of love and support I've received from everyone in the last few days is absolutely awe inspiring. I never imagined that people could be so kind. If just the people I know can be so wonderful, imagine what could be accomplished if more people knew about this illness? We could change the world or at least the health care system and then other people wouldn't have to go through this misery.

Thank you my friends for being so amazing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lyme

Lyme is up.


Here is a pretty photo of the moonrise I took yesterday:



Monday, September 15, 2008

I crossed a line

I crossed a line I told myself I would never even approach. Yesterday's post was far more personal and emotional than I ever wanted to share with you. I accidently tore open my soul and I shouldn't have.

It's not that I don't want you to be part of my life - I wouldn't have this blog if I didn't love you all dearly in the same platonic way that I love yarn. It's just I didn't really plan to share quite so much with you or at least, not share that much with you on this blog.

This blog is for yarn and all those things in life that bring me joy. Writing about Lyme doesn't bring me joy. It makes me despair to think that unless eighty thousand dollars falls into my lap from the heavens, the bacteria will slowly consume what little I have left in this world until there is nothing left but an empty raven shaped shell in a hospitle bed.

I'm still going to deal with this issue, I have to, and I still want to share my experience with any who care to read about it. I just don't want to do it here. Later, when I have energy, I'll set up a blog just for Lyme and reinstate Trampled By Geese as a blog for things that inspire me in the world.

In the mean time, I'm going to take a few days off from blogging in general. It's a busy two weeks coming up and I have a lot to deal with. I'll be back just as soon as I've finished wallowing in self pity.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

There is something I need to ask you about

I don't know how to phrase this, well because, I don't know what to do. This is a topic I don't like talking about and a weakness I don't want to admit to. I don't know how to do this on my own and, though I hate to say it, I need help.


Lyme has ruined my life and I am told I should feel angry. I should be angry at the doctors who failed to diagnose me, who ignored my for years while I got sicker. But I can't feel angry at them. They didn't know any better. Maybe I should be angry at the system that trained them. Lyme disease is so new and unresearched, how can the doctors be trained to deal with it when there is so little data out there? A general practitioner couldn't be expected to deal with this sort of thing, but specialists are few and far between. I should be angry at the medical system that refuses to grant me access to the medicine and care I need? The system is working under the idea that resources are limited (which they always are when it comes to health care) and they base their analysis on an antiquated idea that two weeks of antibiotics is sufficient for most bacterial infections. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they've got. It's not good enough to help me but I can't find it in my heart to be angry with them.

But I am sad. I cannot receive the treatment I need here in British Columbia so I must turn to my southern neighbours and receive treatment from a specialist in Seattle. Now, I trust this specialist's assessment of my situation and I trust the recommended treatment. I feel that if I could follow this course of treatment for the recommended period of time (2 to 4 years), I will be well enough to be a productive member of society. I just can't afford to do it.

I did some math. Out of pocket expenses for my health so far total more than $12,000. That's my entire savings along with donations from family members who really can't afford to make donations. That amount was just to get me to a diagnosis. The cost of treatment is considerably more.

Let us pretend that I could afford the basic treatment plan. This involves antibiotics, probiotics, IV nutritionals with Vit C, other herbal and nutritional products, regular visits to the specialist every two months, and a few other necessities. This is by no means the super lovely or deluxe package. With the basic package I would in theory be better in just over two years (give or take 6 months). I would still have to be careful in order to avoid remission of symptoms but I would be well enough to work again.

Going by current costs the price for this basic treatment is $3360.35 per month until the end of the year or when I begin to show improvement, then it will reduce to $2930.00 per month. Assume I'll need this until new years 2011 and we have a total cost of $83,761.40.

This does not include things like food, clothing, shelter, paying off my student loan (which starts next fall), or even bus fare. This is just Lyme related medical expenses and is exactly 80 thousand dollars more than I have. The illness makes me so I can't work. On a very good day I have 4 hours of energy but most days I'm lucky to be active for 20 minutes. About the only thing I have the energy to do is to write, but I don't know how to turn that into money and don't have the energy to learn. This will improve with treatment, I'm told, but it will be at least two years before I can hold down a regular job although it's unlikely I will ever be able to work in a public space again because of my chemical sensitivities.

I have enough money for two months of treatment. That's not basic treatment either, this is bare minimum treatment. After that, well... I don't know.


So what do I do? This is the part where I start to cry because I feel so hopeless. I need money to get well and I need to be well to earn money.

Do I ask for charity. A friend suggested that perhaps someone close to me could run a fundraiser or at the very least that I put a 'please donate' paypal button on my blog. I don't know if I'm proud, stubborn or stupid but the idea of asking for help, especially asking for money, makes me feel wrong inside. I feel wrong to accept something that I haven't earned. I don't like bothering people. I don't like feeling weak. I don't like asking for help when it comes to things that really matter.

But this really matters. I don't know how to do this on my own.

Flowers

Someone sent me flowers.


Thank you Handsome Stranger (your persona on this blog - hope you don't mind I choose a pseudonym for you). It made me smile.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sunflowers

How do you roast sunflower seeds? I dried the heads and the seeds are tasty, but I like them better roasted. Can anyone tell me how to do it?

Weft

The weft for my weaving project arrived in the post. It was really fast delivery (thanks elann.com) as usual. Now, I have to do the thing where I make the warp the right length.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Yurt

I want to live in a yurt.


Why not? It looks comfy and I'm told it can be quite warm if you have the right set up (or slippers). I think I'll make this one of my goals in life: to live in a yurt.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Interesting?

Does this Lyme stuff interest you? It's not in keeping with my aim for this blog in that it has a more negative bent than I would like to write about. It is however, the biggest thing in my life right now. In the end, I know that this blog is mine and I'll end up doing what ever I want with it, but I'm curious what you think about me sharing the details of this misfortune with you all.

My first Herx?

I think I might be getting my first herxheimer reaction to the antibiotics. It's either that or my brain has decided it doesn't like me anymore.

The herxheimer reaction is a good thing in the way that the pain of a dentist's drill is a good thing. It means the antibiotics are killing off the Lyme bacteria in my body. Of course, Lyme seems to be well read and a big fan of Dylan Thomas: They do not go quietly into that good night. As they die off, their dead bodies release toxins and other nasty things into my body which makes the cure feel worse than the disease.

It's almost enough to make me believe in intelligent design. The bacteria modify their environment (my immune system) to provide it food and a friendly environment. They then start to dig deeper into my tissue to mine it for resources (minerals like zinc and magnesium - thus people with Lyme often have low levels of these in their systems) and once they do this, they use the local environment to build little cities. They live this way quite happily until the host becomes too damaged or polluted to support their lavish existence. When you look at it this way there is a very strong parallel to human existence on earth. I just wish that the Lyme bacteria had enough sense to ratify their own Kyoto protocol before they kill me with their wastefulness.

Every person experiences Lyme differently. Each person is unique; I don't mean in the 'you're special' kind of way. I'm talking about the chemical and genetic composition of the body. It's influenced by a mixture of hereditary traits and environmental stimulus. Because many of the symptoms of long term Chronic Lyme (and their friends, co-infections) come from the way the bacteria modify the body's own resources, the symptoms are as varied as the people who have the misfortune of experiencing this illness. Couple this with the inaccuracy of blood serology, and you have a disease that is almost impossible to diagnose. It also means that everyone will experience the herxheimer reaction differently.

My Herx (short for herxheimer) so far seems to be centered in the brain. I'm having moments of complete confusion (opposed to the brain fog and general muddledness of every day Lyme). I can be standing in the kitchen, in the middle of a task and completely forget where the fridge lives, what I'm doing, or what city I'm in. I'm completely unable to act until the feeling passes. I think it must only last about 10 seconds or so, but it feels like eternity. There are other Herx like symptoms like, for example, my joints are almost pain free for the first time since I was ten, but my muscles hurt like crazy.

I just want to sleep until it goes away (they tell me it will go away in a few weeks, but will come back every now and again as I continue treatment). They also tell me that this is a good thing and I want to have my very own Herx so that I can know the drugs are working. But then again, it sounds like something my dentist use to say and now I'm scared of his shiny mettle implements of destruction.

Having fun with math

Yesterday Brenda (my spinning mentor) came 'round to my place and we played with math. More specifically, she helped me plan out what I am going to make on my marvelous loom. Since I'm still forbidden to knit, I figured that weaving wouldn't put too much strain on my wrist. At least that's the plan

Yarn has a way of making math fun. I learned how to calculate out warp and weft requirements. Maybe this weekend if I'm up for it, I can make the warp and get it ready to dress the loom (technical speak for putting the long stringy bits onto the loom). This is going to be quite the adventure.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Port Angeles

On a recent trip to the US, we spent a few hours in Port Angeles waiting for the Coho Ferry. The town was filled with art for some reason. Wondering around the town in the sunshine, the public art kept us entertained.













Monday, September 08, 2008

A joke

A joke that ARose told me at spinning tonight:

Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.

Garden

I love my garden. It is a small allotment garden, almost perfect for a apartment dweller like myself. Even with it's small size, I am able to grow more than I can eat, can, cook with, dehydrated, freeze, or process in other creative ways. With an average effort of ten minutes a week plus an hour of hard labour a month, there is not only enough for my household, but also for my other family members, close friends, former co-workers, neighbors, and occasionally, people who pass me on the street.


And then there are friends and family with fruit trees. Fruit enjoys coming ready all at once, and if you've ever had to process and can five trees worth of pears, I empathise. Eating fresh fruit and vegetables is one thing, but processing them to enjoy throughout the year is an entirely different kettle of zucchini.


With my small allotment garden and my friends and relatives' back yard fruit trees, I have almost enough fruit and vegetables to keep me fed well through those long, dark, rainy, winter months.


A ten minute trip to the garden last week gave me these delightful yummies.



And an hour of digging, picking, and tidying up the allotment provided me with enough yummies to keep me busy for days (note: the basket is mostly full of potatoes with squash on top). That's after I gave away the extra to random people.


If you look at all the things I can do with the garden now, imagine what I could manage with my very own yard. Although, Mrs Beeton's book didn't actually grow in the garden, it is however, a newly acquired source of recipes.



I love giving away food almost as much as I love growing it. I think it must be some sort of evolutionary emotion from a time when survival depended on group co-operation. Of course, it has it's practical value - I'm not going to make it through all that food before it spoils and I never did like Zucchini. I think there is something deeper in my soul that glows when I can give away food; be it a group bake off with my university friends so that they have something healthy stashed away in their freezer to eat, or just an extra couple of cucumbers to a neighbour. It makes me smile.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Spinning, drugs and dreams of knitting

In case anyone was wondering, I do remember that there is spinning tomorrow night.

I blame the clarity of memory on drugs. There seems to be improvement; not huge, mind, but any improvement at this point is welcome. I don't know if it is actually because of the drugs (If this is your first time visiting this blog, the drugs are prescription. Read last week's entries.) or because of the fact that I am taking action to get better. Either way, I am well pleased that I have the energy to do things again. I almost hope that it's the placebo effect because if the drugs are working, I'm up for a huge crash later this week or early next. As the bacteria die off, they release all sorts of toxins into my body. They call this the Herx-something effect. Apparently it will be far worse than anything I've felt to date; however, it will pass after a few months and I will, in theory, start getting better.

Now that I finally have the energy to knit again, I just need my wrist to get better so that I can...well, Knit.

Bump

I saw some amusing bumper stickers lately:





Friday, September 05, 2008

yummy

In my attempt to make chines style plum sauce, I invented a recipe that tastes like HP with a touch of Worcestershire sauce. It's even Vegan, which I know will make someone smile.

Very cool.

The first week back at University

The first week of university is a very interesting creature. After a fortnight of rain (it always rains the last two weeks in August), the weather turns extra nice in order to tease those who must return to the grind stones of academia. Students enjoy the sunshine by sitting on the grass and playing Frisbee. They choose to be blissfully unaware of the workload that will devour them next week.



The university takes advantage of the festive atmosphere that infuses the student body this time of year by inviting local businesses to set up stalls in the Quad. This years theme, eco-friendly products like locally grown produce and (although I'm not certain how eco-friendly this is as they weren't expensive enough to be fair trade) clothes imported from the Orient.





One stall even gave me a jump rope in exchange for my pledge to eat more fruits and vegetables, get more exercise, and generally be more healthy in the coming year. You've got to know the world's in trouble when the government spends millions of dollars to get kids to skip rope.



A funny but really annoying thing happened to me, in one of my classes this bloke sat next to me and breathed heavily the entire class. Not just that, he breathed on my arm and my laptop the entire hour and twenty minutes; his breath smelt like hand sanitizer and I think he was chewing on a wet wipe. It was DISCUSTING! He's not going to be sitting next to me again, not if I have anything to say about it.



Another interesting sight:



Construction is everywhere this year. You know, three years ago, there was no construction, but now...Well, if you saw the lovely old Redwoods or the endangered Garry Oaks they cut down to build these monstrosities, you'd cry too. Why couldn't they have used parking lots to build these new structures on? Rather defeats the purpose of having a green market don't you think? Hypocrisy.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Lyme in two parts: part two

Well, I still have Lyme, hopefully less of it. I started treatment today and I tell you right off the bat, I feel like crap.

So, what is Lyme? Well, let’s use a metaphor (they always come in hand this time of year): Lime is a large group of teenagers of rather annoying sort. They break into your home while you are off camping. The have some huge parties with beer and lots of ‘fun’ chemicals and totally trash all the furniture. That is about all people can agree on when it comes to Lyme. It’s annoying, but if you are one of the people who bought insurance (subscribes to the party line) then two weeks of repair men cluttering up the joint (antibiotics) should do the trick.

If I were to be completely non-controversial, I would say that Lyme involves bacteria entering the bloodstream and giving a collection of symptoms that often include a feeling like Rheumatoid arthritis. That’s about all I can say without stepping on someone’s toes. Since when did I care about other peoples’ toes?

The party line: Lyme is only transmitted through a tick bite. It takes several hours for the bacteria to transfer from the tick to your blood. It causes a distinctive bullseye rash at the infection site and presents with stiff and sore joints. The blood tests are unreliable, but that’s all we’ve got. Lyme is easily destroyed with no more than two weeks of antibiotics.

Even though the official criteria for diagnosis and treatment (both in Canada and the USA) is far more lax than this, when it come to practice certain pseudo-legislative bodies make it all but impossible to act different than I’ve outlined here. They officially acknowledge the limitations of this approach and cite the need for further research in order to change their ‘guidelines’.

The other line: Lyme is really complicated.

Okay, there is no way in this world I can tell you everything that goes here. I’m new to this and haven’t read it all. I’m not even going to tell you everything I know; however, I will tell you what makes sense to me (I’m not saying I believe it. I don’t know what I believe when it comes to Lyme. I’m just saying it makes sense).

Lyme can enter the body at least through tick bites and most likely through flea and mosquitoes bites as well. The bacteria can survive in saliva and other bodily fluids, but is not yet proven if it can be transmitted through sex or by giving blood. Actually, as far as I can tell, this hasn’t been researched. Many people say that it can be passed from mother to foetus if the mother is infected at or before the time of pregnancy. The bullseye rash is not as common as formally believed. Depending on who you read, it is present in 20 to 40% of cases. The actual symptoms of Lyme are numerous, varied and can change in an individual over time. One month your left knee might be giving you marry heck, then perhaps your head won’t stop hurting for five months. Because the blood tests are so inaccurate, one must rely on a combination of patient history, other blood work (vitamin deficiency &c) and clinical diagnosis to determine if the patient has Lyme.

Lyme has two stages, acute which is present at the initial onset and last a few weeks or months, and chronic which is the real devil. Chronic, if left long enough can leave a person with Lyme symptoms for life, even if all the bacteria are destroyed. This side of the controversy is surprisingly unanimous that two weeks of antibiotics is Entirely Insufficient to treat either stage of Lyme. What the correct course of treatment is; well, that’s up for debate. Most of these people will also tell you that a holistic approach must be used in combination with the antibiotics. This makes your bioterrain less favourable for the little bacteria. For example, foods that decrease the amount of oxygen in your body, like processed foods or those containing sugar, are exactly what the littler buggers want. Lyme makes the body crave processed fats and sweet things, but if you can stay away from them for a year or preferably, forever, then you are more likely to recover. Even though a Heart Foundation may tell you that Gold Fish are a ‘healthy snack alternative,’ buy some carrots instead.

The biggest problem for people on this side of the debate is that there is not enough research being done of the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme. So, I guess they have something else in common with the party line.

Now, where does that leave me?

I have two doctors that I trust: a GP here in Canada and a specialist in the USA. The latter is expensive and hard to get to. But, there is no one here in BC who can help me. There is no-one left who is acquainted with this illness.

The specialist says I need A, B and C, coupled with nutritional supplements and other good stuff to make the body strong enough to handle A and B. This specialist says that I will need A, B and C, or something similar to them depending on how I progress, for at least two years, probably four. I feel that this person is knowledgeable and experienced in this area. I would like to try this person’s treatment, but find it difficult to afford. As a student I make somewhere around three months worth of treatment in a year, but that’s if and only if I don’t spend anything on luxuries like food. All is not lost as A and B are covered under the local medical plan here in British Columbia. However, the catch is a local physician must prescribe it.

I had a talk with my GP and we went over my options. My GP is bound by the local – well, it’s complicated and it makes me grumpy to talk about it, so I’ll say that the GP’s hands are tied and is risking his/her medical licence to prescribe as much as he/she did: One month of A, after which I will have to spend one or two weeks without treatment and if it makes me worse to be off the treatment, then I can have another month and start the cycle again. B is not available to me in British Columbia at this time and for C I have to go elsewhere. Now this is depressing because the specialist said that I could not get better without B. But, at least it is something. It’s a start. I can take action. I’ve started treatment A today and if it works, my body should feel like the apocalypse. I’m not really certain what to hope for at this point.

End of part two.
I hope this was interesting to you.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Lyme in two parts: part one

I have Lyme disease. There, I said it. The world didn’t stop turning. Earth worms didn’t take flight and start eating peoples’ ears. The sky didn’t turn a decomposing shade of brown. Life on this planet didn’t come to an end.

Do you know that moment when you have just received news of a death of a loved one? Everything goes suddenly very, very still and for a moment your life stops. There is a small moment when you feel absolutely nothing but your senses are shaper than any blade. You notice every detail around you, every sound, every colour and every smell. Then suddenly, you see that the bloke across the road is mowing his lawn. Someone is coming home from work. A woman scolds kids for playing too loudly in the yard. People are going about their daily lives and none of them know anything about what you are going through. Your life has change, the world as you know it has ended and no one notices. You want some sort of sign that the pain you are going through matters. You want the thunder of a thousand angles stamping their feet in rage or a bird to stop in mid flight and fall down at your feet. Your life will never be the same again! How can the world just keep on keeping on?

I feel like this right now. I want to cry, I want run around in circles until the ground gives way and I fall into India, I want to scream to the heavens, “I’M SCARED AND I FEEL SO ALONE! I don’t know what to do and I don’t think I can get through this on my own.” It’s possible I could be overreacting. It’s what I feel; I don’t know what I should be feeling. All I know is that crazy bacteria have free reign throughout my body and I’ve got to find some way to stop them. I also know that I am grateful for the help and support of my friends and family.

Lyme is a tricky thing. Of course, it couldn’t just move in on its own, it had to bring roommates: co-infections. I’ve had this at least 20 years. That’s most of my life, so I don’t remember what it feels like to be healthy. I was more or less holding my own, very slowly going down hill as the years progressed. Then last year, my body gave up the fight. My immune system became over stressed and decided that it just didn’t want to play anymore. With the immune system on screensaver, the spirochetes had free range to do allsorts of nasty things.

I don’t remember much of my youth, but do remember I loved running. I haven’t been able to run since the third grade. Slowly and almost methodically, these little Lyme freeloaders steal different aspects of one’s life. The ability to run, the ability to breath and get oxygen (also known as air hunger), the ability to see, the ability to keep one’s balance, the ability to use your fine motor skills to do things like buttoning a shirt, the ability to eat your favourite foods, the ability to remember, the ability to work, the ability to spend time with friends, and the ability to do what one loves. These are just some of the things that Lyme takes from a person if left untreated. This illness has taken so much from me already. It’s like we are playing strip poker and I don’t know the rules because the spirochetes keeps changing them on me.

I’m frightened – NO! – I am terrified that eventually this illness will take everything away from me and there will be nothing left of me but it. I’m scared that I will identify with it; I will become one with the Lyme. It worries me that I will forget all the things that have brought me joy in this life so far. I want to be healthy but with the way things seem now, I don’t know if that will ever happen.

End of part one.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

My mad fortnight of busyness

University starts for me in a couple of days and my mad fortnight of busyness has almost come to an end. I have a memory card full of photos to sort through and share with you.

It's been a crazy mix of doctors and fun, and, surprisingly no yarn. I've even passed by half a dozen yarn shops on my travels. I didn't enter a single one. Obviously, I must be sicker than I thought.

For anyone who's interested, I have a diagnosis. I finally know what's wrong with me. I even have a treatment plan. Although, I will never be able to return to a 'normal' life, in particular when it comes to eating food, within two to four years of treatment I can become a productive member of society again. Today I find out whether I can receive this treatment in Canada. It's um, doubtful as the illness is poorly researched and therefore treatment and diagnostic procedures are difficult for the physician to prescribe. I'm rather worried about how this is going to turn out, but I'm not interested in going into too much detail at the moment. Just, please, wish me luck.