Category Archives: New Hampshire

Lesson 941 – Lyme Disease – Status

The last Lyme disease update I put on my blog was rather celebratory. I had finished 3 months of medication. Yay!

Many of my symptoms had, it seemed, melted away. Yay!

I was cured. Big Yay!

And then about 2 weeks after I had stopped the medication, I started to feel some very familiar twinges in my shoulder and elbow.

Hmm, I thought, it must just be the weather, you know that crazy New England weather of ours.

And then my muscles started twitching a little bit more at night. The bottoms of my feet start hurting again and that Achilles tendonitis like a song that you can’t get out of your head, started making itself heard. At first just around the edges and then it became stuck in my brain. Continue reading

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Filed under Life Lessons, Lyme Disease, New Hampshire, Personal

Lesson 932 – Home again

That tricky elf in a coop has finally gone back into his box (along with our Christmas Chicken) where I assure you he will be kept safe until next year.

Our flock

Our flock

For now, we are enjoying the fact that all of our chicks have returned home and that our nest is full once again.

Oh I know that as a mama hen, it’s my job to push out my little ones when the time is right, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t miss them and greatly enjoy their company when they come back to visit.

So good to see you, so very good to see you – sit down and tell me how you’ve been.

And come back they have with a roar, the kids haven’t all been together since last August. That’s a long time when you’ve grown up in a flock that has lived, worked, and tumbled around together.

Continue reading

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Filed under All things chickens, Holidays, Life Lessons, Mama Hen, members of the flock, New Hampshire, Personal, The Family, The kids, Uncategorized

Lesson 926 – Lyme Disease – Status Week 14

Note: for those who may be new to this blog due to the Elf in a Coop series – on Thursdays I give on update on my and 5 of my kids status as we all cope with Lyme disease. We live in New Hampshire where Lyme disease is rampant and yet, many in our medical community don’t recognize the disease or know how to properly treat it.

I’m just one voice of the many out there.

****

Well I sure wasn’t expecting to be writing this status report. I have been off of all meds now since Thanksgiving and just last week I saw Doc Holiday and told him that I felt great. I even gave him that list that showed all of my symptoms that have disappeared. Terrific we both agreed, even though we sort of shook our heads in realization that treating Lyme disease “just doesn’t work this way.”

Oh but what a difference a week makes.

My leg muscles are twitching (jumping around) again. My tennis elbow is back (and can I just say that it’s not fair to have tennis elbow without at least having played a good game or two of tennis), my shoulder tendonitis is acting up (I know it is because I’m reflexively not using my left hand when I drive), the bottoms of my feet are very sore again and the Achilles tendonitis, although not as sore as it was, is definitely noticeable.

I’ve also noticed that after reading a page in a book, I couldn’t remember what I had read and I’m forgetting things (which really stinks when you are a journalist.)

Lyme? Or gluten? Beer? (both of which I’ve had since stopping the meds.) Again, to be fair, I even have to revisit that ‘ol ghost of all chronic illnesses past – hypochondria? Stress of the holidays?

Am I just too weak?

There could be a million factors, all I know is that for about 2 months, while on medication I had none of these symptoms. Now that I am off of medication, they are starting to come back.

Guess Lyme didn’t work that way after all.

I’m going to wait until after the holidays (New Year’s) and then I’ll talk to Doc Holiday. I’m pretty sure that the answer is to go back on meds but this time, I’ll also add some of the herbal and supplement elements that are popular in the Lyme community. And while I’m certainly willing to go back on the meds, I’d rather wait until after the holidays to start the nausea/vomiting routine. It’s not a lot of fun.

Next time though, I’m not going to be in such a rush to be done. Superwoman, I clearly, am not.

Trust me, all of this is giving me new found respect for those who continue to be treated for Lyme disease. It takes a long time. The meds can be literally gut-wrenching.  There are days when you’ll do anything not to have to take medication. “I feel okay today, maybe I don’t need it.”

I think back to the constant arguments I had with my son when on some days he would refuse to take his meds while he was in high school.

At the time, I had thought he was being stubborn. A child. Didn’t he realize how serious this was?

Now I realize that he was just sick of being sick all the time. It sucks to constantly not feel good, especially when you are a kid.

I had read long ago, that when you are being treated for chronic Lyme (not acute Lyme) that you should expect to be treated for as long as you’ve had the disease. I’m not completely convinced that this is the case, however, it’s pretty clear for me anyway, that when treating my  chronic Lyme, 3 months of treatment is not going to do it.

***

Thank you all for your comments and discussion. I read every single reply and find much value in your experiences.

Disclaimer, this is an account of my Lyme symptoms and treatment, it is not intended to be used in the treatment of anyone else’s condition. Please consult and work with your physician if you think you may have Lyme.

Let me know if you have any questions about my Lyme symptoms and/or treatment, if I don’t have the answer, I’ll find someone who does.

***
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 919 – Lyme Disease Thursday – Status Week 13

Note: for those who may be new to this blog due to the Elf in a Coop series – on Thursdays I give on update on my and 5 of my kids status as we all cope with Lyme disease. We live in New Hampshire where Lyme disease is rampant and yet, many in our medical community don’t recognize the disease or know how to properly treat it.

I’m just one voice of the many out there.

****

Before I started antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease 3 months ago, I wrote down a list of every single symptom that was bothering me.  When I handed it to Doc Holiday, I apologized because I knew it made me look like a bit of a hypochondriac (really, you have all of these complaints, is it possible that you may not be growing older gracefully?)

This is the list I gave him.

####

Burning feet (sensation like burning)

Cold feet and hands (temperature)

Very sore toe (thought it was broken)

Achilles tendonitis both legs

Knee pain both legs

Sore/tender left foot

Numb right foot

Shooting nerve pain down right leg

Feeling of bugs crawling on skin

Severe and prolonged leg cramps

Insomnia

Leg muscle twitching

Extensive rash on back of right leg

Dry patches of rash near scalp

Lower back pain

Swollen gland near groin (right side)

Gut sensitivities (alcohol, dairy)

Stomach aches (mostly at night)

Heart palpitations

Shoulder pain

Numb hands/fingers

Cold hands and feet

Tennis elbow

Small lumps under skin

Neck pain

Swollen neck gland (right side)

Eye problem (blister)

Eye twitching

Headaches

Teeth problems (decay)

Teeth grinding

Gagging/choking on food

Weight gain

Memory problems

Word retrieval

Speech issues

I then filed that list away and didn’t look at it for the entire 3 months I was being treated.

This week I met with Doc Holiday and I gave him a revised list. Here is my list of symptoms but this time everything that is highlighted in red is a symptom that I no longer have.

####

Burning feet (sensation like burning)

Cold feet and hands (temperature)

Very sore toe (thought it was broken)

Achilles tendonitis both legs

Knee pain both legs

Sore/tender left foot

Numb right foot

Shooting nerve pain down right leg

Feeling of bugs crawling on skin

Severe and prolonged leg cramps

Insomnia

Leg muscle twitching

Extensive rash on back of right leg       

Dry patches of rash near scalp

Lower back pain

Swollen gland near groin (right side)

Gut sensitivities (alcohol, dairy)

Stomach aches (mostly at night)

Heart palpitations

Shoulder pain

Numb hands/fingers

Cold hands and feet

Tennis elbow

Small lumps under skin

Neck pain

Swollen neck gland (right side)

Eye problem (blister)

Eye twitching

Headaches

Teeth problems (decay)

Teeth grinding

Gagging/choking on food

Weight gain

Memory problems

Word retrieval

Speech issues

Pretty impressive huh?  I realize that I am only one data point and there could be a few explanations for this:

  • I had a strange virus (for the last two years) that resolved itself
  • I had some other type of infection that resolved itself
  • I had Lyme disease and the treatment was effective
  • I may have imagined all this

Both Doc Holiday and I are amazed at this results. Lyme disease doesn’t typically work this way, but when you see physical proof (like that marble sized lump on the back of my Achilles tendon that no longer hurts) it’s pretty hard not to be a believer that *something* was just knocked out of my body.

The only medication I’ve taken in the past 3 months was an antibiotic. Not one anti-inflammatory passed these lips.

But let’s not be a Pollyanna here, I still have some significant pain, remember I’ve had all that orthopedic damage, but that *extra* layer of buzzing, nerve shooting, numbing pain that was driving me to distraction is gone.

All of this gives me renewed hope for one of my kids who has severe complications due to chronic multi-year Lyme disease.  I am convinced that if we can get his infection(s) under control that we can get him a lot of relief.

After reading Horowitz’s book about his 16 prong approach (which is a fine way to go if you have an extra million dollars lying around) and talking with Doc Holiday, we’re going to start my son in January on a 4-pronged approach.

  • Sleep – one aspect of chronic Lyme is that you have insomnia – big time. We are going to try to address that so that he can get quality sleep and which will allow for healing and rested muscles
  • Medication – due to complications, he has not been able to complete a full course of meds for chronic Lyme treatment. He’ll start in January (along with all my tips for not vomiting)
  • Nutrition – I’m going to work with him in an effort to clean up his diet while at school. We are also going to take a look at his supplements and will adjust those.
  • Chelation therapy – he’s done this a few times before, but we’re going to start at square one. He’ll do therapy for a month or two and then it will be checked off the list.

It sounds like a lot but it’s only a few steps on what will be a long path for this kid (who has already been on a very long journey.)

Unless my symptoms return, my Lyme updates will switch to how members of my family are doing and I’ll continue to report of Lyme findings and books that are out there.

So for now I stop treatment. I only need to see Doc Holiday as a patient (I continue to see him as my kids’ medical advocate) if the symptoms come back and I change my focus back to my kids in an effort to try and get on top of this infection (affliction. )

***

On a related note, I heard from a friend this week who got tested for Lyme disease because of various complaints of multi-year lingering muscle pain and tendonitis. She tested positive and starts treatment this week.

Anyone who has lingering pains that seem to move all over the place and that have defied treatment should be tested for Lyme disease.

***

Thank you all for your comments and discussion. I read every single reply and find much value in your experiences.

Disclaimer, this is an account of my Lyme symptoms and treatment, it is not intended to be used in the treatment of anyone else’s condition. Please consult and work with your physician if you think you may have Lyme.

Let me know if you have any questions about my Lyme symptoms and/or treatment, if I don’t have the answer, I’ll find someone who does.

***
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Filed under Life Lessons, Lyme Disease, New Hampshire, Personal

Lesson 910 – Lyme Disease Thursday – Status Week 12

Note: for those who may be new to this blog due to the Elf in a Coop series – on Thursdays I give on update on my and 5 of my kids status as we all cope with Lyme disease. We live in New Hampshire where Lyme disease is rampant and yet, many in our medical community don’t recognize the disease or know how to properly treat it.

I’m just one voice of the many out there.

****

I missed last week because of the holiday. Remember how a few weeks back I was wondering if the renewed pain that had hit me was my normal winter/cold weather orthopedic pain or if it was the Lyme? It put me into an immediate tailspin because I didn’t know. Was I destined to be in this kind of pain due to my injuries or was it those darn spirochetes acting up?

Such is the insanity of Lyme disease.

Well here it is a few weeks later and while I do have some achy winter pain, *that* specific high level of pain that was keeping me from climbing stairs without assistance is gone.

Yup, *completely* gone. And it’s been gone since week 10.

Even though we’ve got cold, damp weather here  – which is what usually sends me to my heated blanket. This is not to say that I don’t have aches, of course I do, but those I can deal with. It’s the high level of extra pain that makes me go crazy. I’m giving the point on that pain to Lyme.

So that’s good.

But here’s the bad part. I stopped taking my antibiotics for the week when my kids were home from school for Thanksgiving. I just couldn’t deal with the possibility of throwing up and feeling queasy when there was so much to do.

And can I say right now, that that is EXACTLY the thing that I yell at my little Lymies about? I can’t even tell you how many fights we’ve had in this house about not taking your medication on a regular basis.

And then I go and do it.

What can I say? Humans are frail creatures.

I have close to half a bottle of the medication left and I’m going to be diligent about finishing up this prescription. If the symptoms don’t return then I won’t need to continue on the meds, if they do, however, then I’ll have to go back on them. (And I’ve got no one to blame but myself if I have to continue on the meds because I lost that week.)

So overall I’m feeling good. Still have some muscle twitches (especially one with my eyelid that is a little strange) but, I’m much, much better than I was this summer (and that’s without orthopedic surgeries or anti-inflammatories – only antibiotics.) I have virtually no tendonitis, where this summer there probably wasn’t a spot on my body that didn’t hurt.

The biggest improvement is in my lower legs. I remember sitting in Doc Holiday’s office thinking that if I could just have my legs amputated from above the knee then most of my pain would be gone and I would be able to function. -  yeah, I know, but that’s how bad it was on a daily basis.

All of that lower leg pain is gone. Poof. I can even press hard on my Achilles tendons (where I had marble sized lumps) and there is no pain. It’s pretty amazing.

One of my severe little Lymies comes home at Christmas break. Because of various medical complications, he has never successfully completed a full treatment for Lyme.  We are going start a course of treatment but we’ll be taking baby steps with him. Our plan is to begin him on antibiotics, clean up his diet, add some supplements and a pro-biotic, and give him a little help in the sleeping department.

Lymies are notorious for having insomnia and a lack of sleep impedes your body’s recovery and adds to the general pain level. We’ll see if we can correct his sleeping habits with some strong meds (he’s tried Tylenol PM, and Melatonin already, we need to pull out some bigger guns.)

Medical help (short term) with sleep is something that Horowitz talks about in his book book on Lyme treatment and although I would dearly LOVE to throw the kitchen sink (everything Horowitz suggests) at my son and treat him for *everything* under the sun, that’s just not practical, in this case, we’ll be stick with the baby steps. And then we’ll evaluate and maybe take a few more.

Lastly, one of my friends asked for where she could go to find a forum on Lyme disease, a place where she could get support and some answers to questions, here are two that have helped me:

Lyme Disease Health Board – http://www.healthboards.com/boards/lyme-disease/

Lymenet.org http://www.lymenet.org/

Even though I’m doing the elf thing this month, I’ll continue with my Thursday Lyme updates.

***

Thank you all for your comments and discussion. I read every single reply and find much value in your experiences.

Disclaimer, this is an account of my Lyme symptoms and treatment, it is not intended to be used in the treatment of anyone else’s condition. Please consult and work with your physician if you think you may have Lyme.

Let me know if you have any questions about my Lyme symptoms and/or treatment, if I don’t have the answer, I’ll find someone who does.

***
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 899 – Lyme Disease Thursday – Status Week 10

A few interesting things to report this time.

Last week, if you recall, I was moaning (whining) about my leg hurting and wondering if it was Lyme, older age, or the weather – I may have my answer.

This week, I have very little – to no pain in that leg. Seriously, this was the leg that last week, wouldn’t work when I tried to go up or down stairs. My age and the weather hasn’t changed and so, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it was the Lyme.

There is a reaction called a Herxheimer reaction that you sometimes get with infections. This reaction often happens when people get put on antibiotics for the first time or when medication gets switched.

The medication, in doing its job, attacks the offending cells or organisms and kills them en masse. By killing that many cells at once, a large amount of toxins are suddenly released into the host body. On the outside, it may look like you have gotten sicker (which is why a lot of people give up on antibiotics for Lyme – it makes them initially feel a lot worse.) The thing is that this reaction is (relatively) short lived and goes away once things have balanced themselves out. Continue reading

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Lesson 894 – Lyme Disease Thursday – Status Week 9

I’m continuing with the Lyme antibiotic medication and having very few complications (read vomiting episodes.) The headaches I had a while back seem to have also disappeared.

It figures, things have finally gotten easier now that I only have a few weeks left.

Some things I’ve noticed. It’s getting easier and easier to say things like “oh I’ll just have 3 crackers with cheese” instead of saying “no thanks.”  Or “it’s been a long time, I *deserve* to have a drink with my friends” instead of saying “you know what? I can have as good a time drinking a glass of juice.”

Last night I went out for drinks with a friend and yup, I paid the price with a belly ache for most of the night (although I had a great time with my friend.)

It might have been the gluten from the crackers, the dairy from the cheese, or the alcohol from the (yummy) martinis, or it could have been the combination of all. Continue reading

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Lesson 889 – Lyme Disease Thursday – Status Week 8

The end is in sight.

The end is in sight.

Guess what I did last night?

I ordered my last refill of antibiotics. That’s right, I have one more month to go on the medication and then I come off to see what will happen.

If nothing happens with regard to my symptoms returning, then I go on my merry way – one of the very lucky ones.

If some or all of my symptoms come back then I either go back on the medication or we take a closer look to see if maybe I have a co-infection (not unlikely as 3 of my Lymie kids have had co-infections) and if it looks like I do, then another medication will be prescribed.

I’ll be crossing that bridge when I get to it. Continue reading

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Lesson 885 – Lyme Disease Thursday – Status Week 7

Last week I wrote about how Doc Holiday wants our “Bart kids” (2 are being treated) to be on antibiotics for the life cycle of a red blood cell (120 days or roughly 5 months.) The reason for the change (it had previously been for 2-3 months and then a break to see how things were progressing) was because Lyme docs now believe that Bartonella “hides” parasite-like inside the red blood cells, and if you don’t continue treatment until *all* the red blood cells turn over then you risk re-infection (or more accurately continued infection.)

Bartonella in the blood

Bartonella in the blood

In doing some internet research on Bartonella, I found this little tidbit: “The Gram-negative bacterial genus Bartonella currently comprises roughly two dozen identified species, about half of which are known to infect humans.”

So there are roughly one dozen species of Bart that can affect humans and most docs, if asked what Bart was, would say it’s that yellow skinned boy on the Simpsons. It borders on criminal. Continue reading

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Lesson 883 – Potluck Contribution

Had a busy day and my post got away from me. So instead of a chicken story, I leave you with a picture of what I’m bringing to a potluck dinner tonight.

IMG_20131029_171211680

I love doing this kind of stuff (why on earth do you think I had 6 kids?) :-)

Enjoy all.

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Filed under Inspiration, New Hampshire, Personal, Recipes