Time to FIGHT!!

As I began to feel worse and worse, I knew I had to change some things in my life.  It is hard to predict from one day to the next, how I will be feeling physically and emotionally.   Beginning in January 2013, I had to start cutting hours at the AMVETS because I felt SO lousy most days.  I would DRAG my butt out of bed, and get to work in the morning to at least do the book work, then stay as long as I could handle it.  It is hard to wrap your head around going to work when you are so sick, but I felt I HAD to because no one else was there to do the work.

In February and March, I began to realize that I could not continue to work everyday, this is something that is very hard for me to come to terms with!  We tend to create our “identity” according to our career, and now I again have to give up my career.  It is easier this time than when I got fired a couple of years ago, this time it is MY decision.  I have to do what is BEST for ME, whatever it takes to get better!

I started treatment the day after Valentine’s Day, and now I will fight with everything in me to beat this beast that is trying to take over my body!  I have started a part-time job at Farm Bureau, and PRAY that I can manage working part-time.  Even 2 -3 days a week is very hard for me now, I never know when or where the pain will hit. I am in pain, I am SO tired, I am SO emotional, (wow, I cry over EVERYTHING!), but I am SO determined to WIN!  I am SO thankful to God for my family and friends who are here to support me.  I am thankful for the precious moments when I “forget” how bad I feel, like when I am playing with my grandkids!

I need your prayers, I need your help.  Wow, did I really just ask for help??  Who is this person that asks for help??!!?  lol!  That is one of the hardest things for me to do.  That means admitting that I can’t do it myself.

Help me Lord!  My healing is in Your hands…Image


Starting a New Manager Job, I Thought It Sounded Like A Good Idea!

After being unemployed for a year, (not for lack of trying mind you) I finally got a job as Manager at the Guy Iversen AMVETS Post #49 in Cedar Falls.  I had conjured up in my mind what a Veteran’s Club should be like:  organized and respectful to name a few.  HA!  Not really happening here…  I should have listened to my daughter Elisha, she has been a bartender there for years, and warned me it was a bit “political”.

I started as the manager at the AMVETS in Sept 2012, things were quite unorganized.  I began to implement new systems, and worked hard at getting things straightened out.  It was a stressful, sometimes even hostile environment, worse than my daughter had warned me about!  Oh, there were some great times there, I loved working with my daughter every day.  And there were a few really awesome guys and gals there, I will remember that about the AMVETS.

 I started to feel very fatigued around Christmas time, and started noticing some of the old Lyme symptoms returning.  Pain where there was never pain, all of a sudden, out of nowhere.  I call them “VooDoo” pains, because it is like someone has a hot poker and is poking a voodoo doll of you in various parts of your body!

 I am remembering what it was like a couple of years ago, but denying that I may still have Lyme Disease.  I DO NOT!  I CAN NOT!  I went through the treatment protocol, blah, blah, blah!  Crying, kicking, stomping my feet denial!!  But oh yes, the blood work came back positive in January.  So, Yes, here we go again!  😦

Lyme Climb 2012! It is not the mountain we conquer, but Lyme Disease!

After being under a Lyme Literate Dr’s care for a year, by the winter of 2011, I began to feel close to “normal”.  I appreciate “feeling well” so much more now. Why do we find it so easy to take our health for granted? I was SO sure that I had BEATEN Lyme Disease! (Even tho’ I did not have the blood work done because it was just another expense we couldn’t afford!  And besides that, there are some tests for Lyme that have questionable negative results, that is for another post.)

I felt so good in fact, that in early 2012 I began planning the “Lyme Climb”.  I was determined to climb to the top of the highest mountain in Colorado, Mt. Elbert!  My sisters Sandy and Carol became my “coaches” and we started walking ALOT.  Uphill (as much as that is possible in Iowa!), downhill, and backwards!  We were also doing water aerobics at least once a week.  My sister Linda was my “long distance” coach, she just kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to do this??  I think she knew I was not ready for this. I had attempted this climb twice before, “pre-lymelife”, it is not an easy adventure.

 I created t-shirts to help raise awareness about Lyme Disease, “It is not the mountain that we conquer, but Lyme Disease”.  I invited family and friends to come to Colorado and join me for the Lyme Climb!  The local news, KWWL, http://www.kwwl.com/story/18158494/local-woman-raising-awareness-of-lyme-disease  did an interview with me and I had stories in several local papers, all to help raise Lyme Disease awareness.

Lyme Interview Picture

August 7th, 2012 I began the climb up Mt. Elbert (elevation 14,433 ft) at 6 a.m. with my husband Keith, brother Troy and his wife Tracey, and my bff since childhood, Jeanne.  It was a GRUELING climb for me from the beginning!  T and T had some kind of Honey Energy in a packet that I sucked down to try to make it a little further.  Jeanne coached me all the way, telling me “see that rock?  Just 10 more steps to that rock, you can do it!”  This trip up was WAY WAY harder than the other 2 times I had tried, but I made it further up the mountain this time!  Not quite to the top, but I could not go another step!   


I was not really sure I was going to make it back down.  My knees were swollen and painful, my ankles screamed with every step down, and I was extremely exhausted. Jeanne told me, “you HAVE to do this, there is NO other way”!    The Lyme Climb theme, “What does not kill us makes us stronger”, rang out in my head!      


 Troy and Tracey had made it to the top and had passed us on the way down long ago! Keith was ahead of us a short distance, and in one spot on the trail, I saw “Luv U BB”, I knew it was from Keith, and that was a positive force to help me on my way.  It was 7:30 p.m. before we got down off Mt. Elbert.  Maybe that hadn’t been such a great idea…

The Year From Hell! My “Herxing” experience…

None - This image is in the public domain and ...

Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme Disease. FA stain (CDC) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I finally accepted the Lyme treatment protocol, and began traveling to Missouri to see a Lyme Literate Dr. early in 2011. Let’s get rid of these little buggers!!  During those months of treatment, there were days when I wasn’t sure if it was the Lyme Disease killing me or the medication!  You see, even though you are “getting better”, you at times will feel AWFUL!  The pain can be unbearable at times, and show up ANYWHERE, unannounced and unexpectedly!  The Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction (referred to as “Herx” often) is believed to be a reaction caused by the bacteria dying off and releasing toxins into the body faster than the body may comfortably handle it.  This herxing is very discouraging, because it is hard to understand why you feel WORSE, when you are supposed to be getting better!  During this time, I lost my job as an Office Manager after being there for 7 years!  I was SO heartbroken, but God knew, that this would be the ONLY way that I would stop, be still, and heal.  The worst part, my husband had recently lost his job!  So there we were, totally brought to our knees, praying to God to help us!

Self-treating; Yes or No?

English: The tick Amblyomma americanum (Lone S...

English: The tick Amblyomma americanum (Lone Star tick) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was bitten while on vacation in Southern Iowa by a LONE STAR tick, not a Deer tick, in 2009.  When I was infected by the tick, I had not even taken an aspirin in five years.  So to tell this stubborn, country Irish girl that I would have to take antibiotics for “awhile”, was like telling me to walk across hot coals!

I was in TOTAL denial, and I began to “self-treat” with herbs, tinctures, and what ever inexpensive natural therapies I read about.  We had no health insurance, so I continued to work full time through it all.  At the end of a year, things were not going so well.  My sisters and other family members begged me to see a Lyme Literate Dr.  We did not have the financial resources for me to go, or for the testing and medications.  In the weeks that followed, my daughter- in- law Martha spear headed planning a fund raiser for me, which raised just enough for gas, hotel, office fees, and the first couple of months of meds.

It took me some time to come to grips with even having Lyme Disease, let alone inundating my body with chemicals!  Now, even though I consider myself an “el naturale” girl, I realize that there are times when we must concede to “main stream medicine”.  I want to live!

The Beginning!

This is my first attempt at blogging, so please be patient with me!  My hope is to raise awareness for Lyme Disease, and assist others along their journey.  I share my story with you, as “therapy” for myself and just maybe it will help someone else along the way.  This picture is the beginning of Laurie’s Lyme Life.  It is the bullseye that I developed in August of 2009, a few days after my mom-in-law pulled a tick from the right side of my back. (NOT a Deer Tick, by the way!)  What started as a little red spot, turned into this angry, raised bullseye about 3-4 inches in diameter.  This is the POSITIVE sign that you have been infected by Lyme Disease.  Unfortunately, only 50% of those with Lyme actually remember having any type of bullseye or rash.  This is why there are THOUSANDS of people suffering from this debilitating, deadly disease, and they have NO IDEA what is making them sick!Image