Killer Green Juice

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I just hopped on the juicing bangwagon and I love it! Since I have been living with a chronic infection for many years, I know that my nutrient levels are depleted and I need to focus on rebuilding my body to get optimal nourishment.  I can definitely rebuild with nutritional supplements, which I am already doing, but the best source of nutritional supplementation comes from real food.

Whole vegetables and fruits have all of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals we need to prevent and reverse disease.  Vitamins and minerals perform hundreds of essential roles for the body.  They rebuild cellular damage, boost the immune system, help heal wounds and convert food into energy, to name a few.  Antioxidants are critical because they neutralize and shuttle free radicals out of the body. Large amounts of free radicals in the body can lead to a wide range of illnesses including cancer, autoimmune disorders and neurodegenerative disease. Phyotochemicals are protective chemicals that reduce oxidative damage to cells that causes various diseases. Since I have experienced a vast amount of cellular damage, dealing with Lyme disease, I LOVE the idea of rebuilding my cells with real whole food.  Fresh vegetables and fruits are by far the best bang for your buck, when it comes to raw nutrition.

Knowing these health benefits, I make it my mission to eat as many plants possible.  The problem is I am not always consistent. I do a pretty good job when I am eating at home, but when I dine out it’s hard for me to eat as many vegetables as I would like.  Juicing is such a quick and easy way to bump up the total amount and variety of vegetables in your diet. Juicing is also a great way to detoxify the body, which is something that can help everybody feel more optimal (I have a lot to say about detoxification, but I will leave that topic for another post).

I do not juice as a meal replacement but rather as an addition to my normal diet. I love drinking fresh juice first thing in the morning, before my breakfast, because it gives me a lot of extra energy. If the thought of having vegetables early in the morning doesn’t appeal to you, drink a juice as a snack with a little bit of protein or right before a big meal.

I wanted to share one of my favorite green juice recipes with you.  I think it is well- balanced, refreshing and not too “green” in taste (thanks to the apple, lime and mint). Nutritionally speaking, this juice is high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients and great for detoxification.  I hope you like it.

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Killer Green Juice Recipe: (16 oz yield)

1/3 bunch of romaine lettuce

1 large leaf of kale, de-veined

¼ large cucumber, peeled

1 small green apple

½ large stalk celery or 1 smaller stalk

½ lime (remove skin)

¼ cup fresh torn mint

1 1/8″ piece fresh ginger (add more if you like it really spicy)

1 small piece fresh turmeric

1 Tbs. cold water

Slice all of the ingredients into small pieces. Process all of the ingredients in a juicer.  Pour in your favorite glass and mix well. Enjoy as fresh as possible.

General Tips for Juicing:

  1. Make it Taste Good:
  • Add Fresh Herbs: Fresh herbs have so much concentrated flavor and so many medicinal benefits and they seem to be overlooked in the juicing world.  Add a handful of fresh herbs to your favorite juice recipe and you will not believe the transformation!  My favorite herbs to use are fresh mint, lemon verbena or cilantro.  After I add the herbs, I always follow with 1-2 Tbs. of cold water down the juicer to make sure all of the “herby” juice is extracted.
  • Add Acid: Sometimes vegetable juice tastes a little dull.  Add 1/2 a lemon, lime or orange to bring it to life.
  • Add Ginger or Cayenne: Any juice tastes better with a little spice.  Fresh ginger is loaded with health benefits and tastes great.  Ginger lowers inflammation, boosts the immune system, aids in digestion and reduces pain. Cayenne is great for digestion, detoxification and is a strong anti-fungal.
  • Start Small with Bitter Greens:While the nutritional benefits of bitter greens are off the charts, start with small quantities because their flavors can be extremely over-powering.  Examples of bitter greens include: beet greens, dandelion greens, kale, chard and collard greens.

2. Prepare Small Quantities of Juice at a Time

Vegetable juice is highly perishable, so it is best to drink your juice right after you make it or within 24 hours.  All juice should be stored in airtight glass containers in the refrigerator.

3.  Focus on Green Juice, not Fruit Juice

As a rule, I want at least 80% of the ingredients in my juices to be vegetables.   Both fruits and vegetables are packed with phytonutrients, which work with the body to fight disease.  While fruits are quite nutritious, they are packed with sugar, which can spike insulin levels, lead to mood disturbance, weight gain and all kinds of disease. Think of using fruit in juices as a flavor accent instead a main ingredients.

4.  Drink in Style

As a chef and visual person, I am a huge believer in food presentation.  We always eat and drink with our eyes first.  Make sure to drink your juice out of a glass that you love.  I know this sounds funny, but I swear it makes the juice taste even more delicious.  I love pouring my juice in a large wine glass so I can admire the vibrant color and feel fancy first thing in the morning.

Warning:  If you have never juiced before, please start slow. Juicing can be extremely detoxifying, which can bring on some unpleasant symptoms if you go too fast. I would start by drinking no more than 4-8oz. of fresh juice a day, for the first few weeks. Hopehealteach provides the information on the website for personal reference only.  Hopehealteach is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. Always see your practitioner if suffering an illness or health problem.

 

Coming Home

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After four long weeks of treatment in Mexico I am finally home!  By the end of our trip I was so eager to sleep in my own bed, see my friends, eat lots of raw vegetables, drive down modern paved roads and sleep.  I was desperately in need of sleep.

The last two weeks of treatment were way more intense than anything I have ever experienced in my life.  Every single day was packed with 4-8 hours of IV treatments.  On lighter treatment days, I had appointments at the dentist as well as a holistic spa for detox therapy.  I was constantly in motion trying to pack in every single therapeutic remedy offered. The heavy treatments involving blood cleaning/separation and customized vaccines were literally every other day.  This meant that if I had a bad reaction to any of them, which I did, I had very little time to recover.  I also didn’t have any days off for 14 days straight.  Can you believe the clinic was open on Saturday’s and Sunday’s?  Only in Mexico.

The transition back to life in Chicago was not so easy for me. The exhaustion I experienced in the first 6 days was worse than every “all-nighter” I ever pulled in college combined.    It felt like coming home from fighting in a war.  I just wanted to sleep and be alone.  I was eager to write this blog and share my experience a week ago, but my mind was too tired and foggy.  I decided to let myself rest and hoped that with time, I would feel better.

I was surprised by all of the emotions flooding in.  I felt fear, vulnerability, anxiety and excitement.  All of these feelings were incredibly uncomfortable because they came on so strong. I guess my mind was catching up with the emotions that I didn’t process in Mexico.   I did my best to let myself feel these things and not freak out.  I realized it was fairly normal to feel so intensely after such an aggressive medical experience.  It would have been strange if I felt nothing at all.

I missed the daily structure and support that I felt in my life in Mexico.  I missed having nurses, doctors and alternative healers around me to answer my questions and help me with all of the challenges I faced. I missed being too busy to think about all of the uncertainty in my life.  I missed the incredible people at the clinic, at Tres Mares (my apartment) and all over the city.

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One of the highlights of my experience was getting to know the other Lyme patients at the clinic. They were from Australia, Mexico City, and all over the United States (California, New York, Texas, and Chicago).  Since all of us spent most of the day getting IV therapy, there was plenty of time to chat and get to know each another.  I was fascinated to hear their stories.  Each story shared a common thread of pain and suffering as well as resilience, perseverance and tremendous personal strength.  There is a reason Lyme patients refer to each other as “Lyme Warriors”.  This disease is incredibly difficult for every patient — physically, psychologically and spiritually.

Since Chronic Lyme Disease is so misunderstood and difficult to treat,  patients must learn to advocate for themselves and question their quality of care.  Every single patient in the clinic had been misdiagnosed with other illnesses before learning they had Lyme.  Most had been treated by 5-10 doctors for their Lyme symptoms before coming to Mexico for treatment.  The majority of patients, 7 out of 9 that I met, were unable to work because of their debilitating symptoms.  To make matters worse, in some countries like Australia and Canada, the medical community does not believe in Chronic Lyme Disease so it is illegal for patients to get treatment.  How shocking is that?  Can you imagine if people did not believe in AIDs and you had to go out of your country for treatment?  It is such a tragedy.

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Peter, in the photo above, traveled all over the world looking for answers before getting the correct diagnosis.  Six years ago he was misdiagnosed with ALS and treated with heavy medications.  Over the course of 3 years, his body started to shut down and he became paralyzed.  The paralysis started in his feet and has slowly moved up his body.  When he finally realized he had Lyme and not ALS, he was forced to hire a top Lyme specialist from Seattle to come to Australia and illegally treat him.  Peter is without a doubt the most inspiring human being I have ever met.  He has suffered horribly over the last 6 years and could easily feel bitter and defeated.  Instead, he has deliberately chosen to stay positive, determined and focused on improving his health, one day at a time.  I feel so incredibly lucky we met and happy to call him my friend.

You might be shocked to know that severe cases of Chronic Lyme Disease can cause paralysis and even death.  I was shocked as well, but sadly this is the truth.  Another crazy fact is that Lyme Disease can be sexually transmitted and passed along “in utero” to babies.  I did not believe these facts at first, but over the last 2 years I have met several people who have contracted the disease in this way.  While the truth about Lyme is frightening, I feel that is incredibly important to increase awareness.

Excuse the passionate tangent…now back to “Coming Home”…

After getting some serious rest, life at home started to feel really good again.  Dr. Morales said that I should feel the full benefits of his treatment 4-8 weeks after returning home.  While I have been home only 12 days, I can say that I already feel so much better!!  My body is 100 times less inflamed and my brain is more clear.  All of the neurological symptoms including tingling, numbness, and electric jolts down my spine are completely gone or 90% improved.  My energy, over the last 6 days is amazing.

My treatment process is not over.  I brought home a customized vaccine, made with my white blood cells, that I will take for the next 7 weeks.  Every week I have to inject myself with 6 shots of the vaccine.  This sounded pretty intimidating but I did the first treatment last week and it was not bad at all.  After going through “war” in Mexico, I realize I can handle much more than I ever expected.  It is a fantastic feeling.

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Besides the vaccine, Dr. Morales has given me a three-month protocol to take care of any remaining infection.  The first month I am taking 3 herbal tinctures along with my long list of nutritional supplements.  The second and third month I will go on a cocktail of antibiotics to kill any remaining bugs that were hiding out in my tissues.  While I am not thrilled to go back on antibiotics, I feel better knowing it is for a short period of time with a specific purpose.  Additionally, Dr. M will follow-up with 5 phone consults over the next year and will chat with my local Lyme doctor to transition over the care.

Overall, I feel like I am very close to getting my life back.  Every day I wake up and I want to pinch myself because I feel SO MUCH BETTER than I have felt in such a long time.  I am grateful for my experience in Mexico and I am so excited about the future.

Until next time,

Kasey

Channeling Passion

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I have always been a very productive person in my personal and professional life.  For years, being productive meant working as a chef running a large culinary operation in San Francisco and catering business in Chicago.  In my free time, I loved to be active.  I did every type of exercise including spinning, vinyasa yoga, downhill skiing, hiking, running and dancing. Being physically active, in the kitchen or at the gym, was  an integral part of my life.  It made me feel balanced, alive and in touch with myself.

However, seven years ago I started to feel throbbing ,widespread pain all over my body (five years before my Lyme diagnosis).  I could no longer stand for long periods of time or workout in the same ways.  I began to dread cooking, which had always been my passion and livelihood.  The physical pain lead to overwhelming fatigue, which made it very difficult for me to drag myself to the gym.  Life as I knew it dramatically changed.  It seemed like everything I loved was being taken away from me.  This period was very confusing and frustrating.  I simply did not know where to channel my energy.

My body was giving me clear messages.  It was saying,” Slow down Kasey!!!!  Rest more. Try to calm your mind instead of pushing through the pain. Maybe it is time to re-think your career?”  I heard the messages loud and clear and I simply did not want to listen.   I did not want to give up my livelihood and I had absolutely no idea what to do with my life!

As a person who  is motivated by passion, I was focused on finding a career that sparked joy and fed my curiosity.  I could not picture myself getting a desk job.  I didn’t like the idea of working in the corporate world. It was important for me to find something that allowed me to be creative and independent.  Most importantly, I was determined to find a less stressful career which would be aligned with my health goals. I had been so focused on  “feeding” other people as a chef, my heath had dramatically declined.  I was ready to find a path that would “feed” my soul and nourish my body.

I spent one entire year soul searching.  I met a brilliant career coach, Caren Thomas, who helped me  think about life differently.  She told me that I had been working with a very basic operating system my entire life.  Until recently, this operating system worked well for me.  But now I must upgrade my operating system to find a path that could better serve me.  Caren promised me that our work together would be hard, but if I did the work, I would find my true essence. We would target my innate strengths and weaknesses in order to find a more sustainable career path.  This path would give me energy instead of draining me.

The plan sounded abstract but extremely exciting.  I was willing to do whatever it took to find another career that I loved.  I didn’t realize that this exploration process was preparing me for something much greater that a career change.

The process of finding “the next step” was elaborate and all-consuming.  Caren and I spend many hours reflecting on my past experiences and important personal relationships.   She gave me over a dozen books to read on spirituality, cultural practices, food and psychology.  She encouraged me to write in my journal as much as possible. She even referred me to a Buddhist monk to learn the art of meditation.  I followed all of her directions like a diligent student.

By practicing yoga and mindfulness based meditation, I learned to breath through my frustration and transform that energy into love and compassion.  As Caren pointed out my strengths, I realized that I was more than just a good cook.  I was a creative person who loved to learn and teach.  I was fascinated by the topics of health and wellness.  I had so many options, I just needed to decide on the best one for me.

After several months of reflection, I realized exactly what I wanted to do.  I decided to go back to school to get a Masters Degree in Integrative Nutrition.  Becoming a nutritionist would combine my passion for food as well as my desire to help  other people with their health struggles.  It would give me the power and knowledge to use food as healing medicine, not simply something that was enjoyable and delicious.  Cooking with a healing purpose would certainly give my life more meaning.

 

What I didn’t know at the time was that my year of self reflection was preparing me for the biggest battle of my life: Chronic Lyme Disease. This exploration process taught me how to slow down and be with myself in a brand new way. Instead of putting pressure on my body to do more, I learned to listen to my symptoms.  I realized that the physical symptoms were the bodies way of communicating with itself.  The more I resisted these signals, the more suffering I experienced.  The more I leaned in to the discomfort, the better I felt. I can’t tell you how many times I have reminded myself to “lean in” over the last 2 years.

I also learned to be more comfortable with the unknown.  The process of changing my career involved a huge leap of faith.  When I decided to go back to school, I had no way of knowing if it would be a good fit.  I was terrified to take Organic Chemistry and Advanced Physiology with tons of students who held degrees in Science.  I did not want to start over, but I knew it was the only way to get to where I wanted to be.  I felt like a beginner and that was very uncomfortable.

The process of treating Chronic Lyme Disease is very similar.  I am using my very best judgment to make huge medical decisions without any guarantee of success.   I feel humbled and vulnerable on a daily basis now.  I have no way to know when I will feel better.  All I can do is use my best judgement and stay positive.  I cannot compare my body or health status to any other patients.  I choose not to dwell on the past or feel sorry for myself.  I can only hope this treatment in Mexico will take me to the next level.

As for the career, I am halfway through my Integrative Nutrition Masters Degree. Two years ago I had to put my studies on hold to focus on my medical treatment. I plan on going back to school when I am in remission.  For now, the most productive thing I can do is focus on getting well.  I know that this experience is shaping me into the person I was meant to be, a more compassionate person who will hopefully help a ton of people with their own health struggles.  But I know I cannot heal others until I heal myself, and that is exactly what I am committed to do!

One Day at A Time

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This week has been such a roller coaster!  The treatments got much harder, I had a traumatic procedure in the hospital, my symptoms flared and my emotions were all over the place.

On Tuesday, I had a small surgical procedure to implant a vascular catheter in my chest. A vascular catheter (or port) is a small plastic tube that connects directly to a central vein.  It is used to efficiently draw blood and deliver nutrients and medications to the body.  In my case, the port was needed for the heavy-duty treatments I started this week including Plasmapheresis and Photopheresis. Both of these therapies involve removing blood from the body, small amounts at a time, and cleansing it of infection and impurities.  It is extremely difficult to do this type of therapy using a small IV in the arm which is why I needed to get to have a port.

I was told the surgery would be super short, simple and painless.  The surgeon planned to keep me awake using local anesthesia to have the least toxic burden on my body (general anesthesia makes me super sick).  Even though the procedure was 20 minutes, I felt pretty anxious about having surgery in a foreign country.  I tried to stay calm and peaceful, using my deep yoga breaths.  Thank god I practice daily meditation.

Unfortunately, the procedure did not go smoothly.  When the surgeon injected local anesthesia into my upper right chest, I felt a cascade of pain ripple up my neck, around my shoulder and down my arm.  I had no idea if this was a normal response to anesthesia.  My mind started racing and I could not seem to remember any of my Spanish vocabulary.  I told the doctor “siento dolor” (I feel pain) and he looked at me and said “es normal” (this is normal).  I decided to keep my mouth shut, continue breathing, and pray that the procedure would be done soon.

The surgeon continued to give me local anesthesia on my right side and the pain got worse.  After 10 minutes, I couldn’t hold back my tears.  I was a serious hot mess!  The surgeon kept telling me to relax and the nurse put on blasting techno music, hoping to distract me.  This only made me feel worse.  The culture clash could not have been greater.

The surgeon finally decided to start over and place the port on the left side of my chest.  He explained that he probably hit a nerve near my subclavian vein, a huge vein that delivers blood from the arms to the heart,  which was causing all of the pain.  I felt incredibly scared but I knew it was my only option.

Thankfully, the procedure on the left side was smooth and practically pain-free.  Before I knew it, it was over and I was on my way to the recovery room.  As you can imagine, my mom was thrilled to see me and give me a huge kiss.  She was worried sick because the produce took 2.5 hours instead of 2o minutes!!

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My mom and I wearing matching PJ’s

I have to go on this tangent:  I feel so incredibly lucky to have my mom here in Mexico.   She listens without judgement when I need to vent,  makes me laugh like no one else and offers me a shoulder to cry on when things feel overwhelming.  This experience has really brought our relationship to new level.  It’s pretty amazing what beautiful things come from really challenging times.

Ok, back to my medical stuff: As I mentioned, the heavy treatments started this week.  And when I say this week, I mean Tuesday night from 6:30pm-9:30pm right after my surgery.  Dr. Morales does not like to waste any time!  I started with Photopheresis, which is an immune modulating therapy used to clean toxins from the blood.  Blood is taken from one tube of my catheter and processed through a cell separation machine.  Dr. M uses the white blood cells that are separated with this machine to make a customized vaccine (how cool is that?).   It is reinfused to stimulate an immune response to help me fight infection.  The whole process is done using this crazy machine that looks like it is straight out of Star Wars.  Check it out:

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This is a Photopheresis machine!

On Wednesday, I got the first customized vaccine (created with my white blood cells) and on Thursday morning I got Plasmapheresis.  Plasmapheresis is another 3 hour therapeutic blood procedure, like Photopheresis,  focused on cleaning blood plasma of toxin.   It is commonly used in Europe and Mexico to treat autoimmune infections because it helps the body lower the levels of harmful antibodies and regulates inflammation.  The process is very similar to dialysis.

Everyone responds differently to all of these treatments.  At the least, they make you very tired because your body is working so hard.  I experienced the fatigue but I also had a  severe herxheimer response.  A “herx” is an intense reaction to toxins released in the body from harmful infection or parasites.   Most Chronic Lyme patients have a love-hate relationship with the process. On one hand, the experience of herxing is feels really crappy.  This time I got severe brain inflammation, making it very hard for me to think clearly, and pain in my chest and lymph nodes. The whole experience usually feels really crappy.  On the other hand, herxing is a really good sign that you are killing the Lyme “bugs” in your body.  So basically you go through a bit of hell to get to where you want to be.    Thankfully, I have moved through the rough symptoms over the course of two days and I am feeling much better!!!

Overall, I am still feeling incredibly optimistic about everything I am going through in Mexico.  I knew that this treatment was going to be hardcore when I decided to come.  I believe that everything I am doing is going to get me well much faster than doing it any other way in the US.  After two crazy years of being sick, I am really ready to get my life back.

On the good days, like Saturday and Sunday, I spend time laying out at the pool, reading books, drinking virgin strawberry daquiris and exploring new restaurants in the city.  Last night we went downtown and ate at this place called “The Blue Shrimp” which was off the charts delicious.  We watched the sunset on the beach, ate incredible fresh seafood and listened to really great live music.  I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the week.   I made sure to take in the moment full of so much love, support and natural beauty.

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Sunset from dinner at “Blue Shrimp”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beginning

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It is so hard to believe I have only been in Mexico 5 days because I have already packed in so much activity.  First of all, Puerto Vallarta is absolutely breathtaking.  The whole city is located on the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by lush mountains. The people here are so friendly and loving.  In Spanish I’d say “la gente es muy sympatico”.  I’m breaking out my college Spanish and really enjoying having conversations with all of the locals.

We are staying in a gorgeous 3 bedroom/4 bath condo in the Marina Vallarta located right on the beach. It’s spacious, sleek and very comfortable.  The best part is we have a huge balcony overlooking the ocean with the biggest infinity pool I have ever seen in my life.  Since we are here off-season and renting for a month, we got a great deal on the place.  You would undoubtedly pay more to stay in a cheap motel in the states.  Gotta love Mexico!

On Monday, I started treatment at the Lyme clinic.  The day started off with a lab test called a microscopy with the chemist on staff drawing blood from my arm and ear.  He explained that over the next few days he was going to study the blood under a microscope and look for any lyme spirochete, parasites and lyme co-infections .  Ticks often infect people with more than just Lyme Disease and carry a host of other infections including babesia, barontella, and mycoplasma making treatment so challenging . Each person has a different set of infections that are very difficult to identify and treat.

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The adorable chemist that does the microscopy

Later in the day I met Dr. Morales, the director of Lyme Disease Mexico.  My first impression: I made such a great decision! Dr. Morales is super smart, compassionate, experienced and extremely curious.  During my initial 2.5 hour meeting meeting, he asked detailed questions regarding my medical history, physical symptoms, emotional state and personal goals regarding my recovery.  He also spent time analyzing my labs and educating me about the therapies he planned to use. At three points in our conversation, he actually showed me power point slides to explain the scientific processes in different treatments.  For a girl that loves to learn, this was music to my ears.  I left the meeting feeling relaxed and excited to get started.

Dr. M suggested so many tests and treatments that I have never considered.  Since I have a considerable amount of brain inflammation, he suggested I get a brain MRI to see if I had any legions ($300 from a specialist in the near-by major hospital).  Since I have a ton of dental history, he wanted me to see an integrative dentist to scan my mouth for possible infection and/or metal fillings– both which aggravate Lyme treatment.  Since I have irregular hormone levels, he booked an appointment with a specialist to analyze my labs and regulate my hormones.  I was thrilled to know that he is thinking outside-the-box about every aspect of my health.  His approach is integrative, cutting-edge and extremely thoughtful.

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(Getting Ozone Therapy in the clinic with my new friend Micky who is from Chicago)

The Lyme treatment protocol and is just as comprehensive as the initial consult.  Every day I receive 4-8 hours of intravenous therapy (I know, a lot right?). So far, the therapies range from vitamin C, glutathione and ozone treatment to acupuncture, neuro-regeneration, rife machine and homeopathic herbs.  This first week, I  focused on building up my body with nourishment to be able to handle the heavier treatments. Overall, I have handled all of the treatments really well.  Most days, the treatments make me feel really tired and sometimes my lymph nodes feel painful because they are detoxing a lot.  A few nights I had some bad headaches, but nothing more serious.  I am pretty sure next week is going to be rough, but I am mentally prepared to handle anything.

Oh, and by the way, can you imagine calling your doctor on his cell phone on a Friday night, having him answer and scheduling an appointment for a specific test for the following Monday? That just happened.  I couldn’t ask for better care!  Mexican doctors don’t mess around.

Overall I feel very optimistic about the next 3.5 weeks.  It is such a relief to be at healing center with so many smart practitioners working together to help me get well.  It is so grounding to be in such a beautiful place as I go through this process.  My mom and aunt have done the best job distracting me, processing all of this information and making me laugh.

I want to thank all of you for your incredible support and kind words over the last week.  I am so touched by all of the e-mails and Facebook messages showing your support.  It was very hard for me to open up about such a personal struggle, but now that I have, I am so glad I did.   Thank you, thank you, thank you for making me feel so loved!!!!

Until next time,

 

Kasey

 

 

Adventures in Mexico

IMG_3746I am headed to Mexico for 1 month of dedicated healing. I have been waiting for this trip for months, hoping this will be the missing link in my recovery from Chronic Lyme Disease. I truly feel that I will be in the exact right place at the exact right time. Six months ago I would not have been ready for this type of aggressive treatment. Today it feels absolutely right.

It’s truly hard to believe what I have gone through. In the last 7 years, I have seen over 15 doctors in search for medical answers. For four and a half years I went misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia and two years ago I finally found out I had Chronic Lyme Disease. I have been to the best Lyme specialists in Chicago and I thought their knowledge and treatments were very limiting. Fortunately, I found a team of fantastic doctors (an MD and two ND’s) on the east coast and I have been traveling out of state, every 6-8 weeks, for the last 16 months for treatment.

I was slowly improving each month and very hopeful I was starting to see the finish line. Then four months ago I came home from a trip to New Orleans feeling run-down and flu-like. I assumed I had a simple cold but later I found a huge bullseye rash on my back. Yes, I was re-infected with another tick bite. I know what you are thinking, is that even possible? Yes it is. It was just really shitty luck.

The last several months have been incredibly difficult. Old symptoms like joint pain, nerve tingling, night sweats, horrible fatigue and brain disfunction came back with a vengeance. New symptoms like electric “jolts” down my spine and horrible hip spasms came up and scared the hell out of me.   Every day was different and most days were very challenging. My body started rejecting antibiotics and I could not tolerate herbs. I became sicker than I could remember. Some days it was incredibly hard for me to get out of bed. Other days, I would go to work but I would have the most horrible brain fog and physical body pain. It became unbearable. I knew I needed to find another solution to get well. The treatment I was doing for months was no longer working.

So that is why I am heading down to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. One of my best college friends, who also had Lyme Disease, got treated by the same doctor (Dr. Moralaes) and has fully recovered. She is a success story. I know a handful of other patients that have been there and have improved significantly. I have done my research. I have talked to Dr. M several times and he seems wicked smart, empathic, collaborative and a great listener. I have to trust my gut instinct that THIS IS RIGHT for me and will help me get to where I want to be.  I am taking a leap of faith…..some times you have to decide and then JUMP!

I could not have asked for a better support system. In Puerto Vallarta, my mom and aunt Jill with be there for the first 2 weeks, my dad is coming out for the third week and one of my best friends is flying out from California for the final week. Ani, my college friend who got treated last year now works at the clinic with Dr. M so she will be around every day. I also feel so much love from my friends back at home. I had the most lovely “send-off dinner party” I would ever imagine. They sent me off with plane letters, spiritual books, dream journals, essential oils, healing crystals, bath salts and candles. All of the gifts will help me feel right at home in the condo I am renting for the month. I am filled up with love in every way.

Most importantly, I am arriving in Mexico with a treasure chest of wisdom and coping skills from years of personal experience. I know my body in the most intimate way and have learned to tend to it with love and respect. I know how to advocate for my health needs in a way that most do not learn in a lifetime. I know the healing modalities that work for me. I know how to prepare the foods that nurture my soul and act as medicine. I know how to calm my mind when things feel unbearably overwhelming. I know that this month will not be easy but I am certain that I could not be better prepared.

I wanted to start this blog to share my updates with my family and friends. I also wanted to share my story with anyone who is struggling with their health so we all feel less alone and more love. I think it is important for me to educate the world about Lyme disease because it is the fastest growing infectious disease in the world right now and most people do not know anything about it.  In telling my story, I hope to heal some of the wounds I have endured and process the raw emotion I am going through. In opening up my vulnerability, I hope others will open up to me.

I would love your support, comments, healing prayers and positive energy as I move forward with the next step of my journey.   I look forward to sharing it with you!

Sincerely,

Kasey