Welcome to my blog! This is a place of information and hope for fellow Canadians who are suffering from Lyme disease. I want to share with you the knowledge I have gained during my fight with this debilitating, frightening, and misunderstood illness. I hope you will be blessed.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Here we are, almost at the start of the New Year!  It is 5:40 p.m. as I write, so our evening celebrations have not yet begun.  Tonight, I don't really have the desire to be "whooping it up"!  A quiet family time is what we have planned - me, my hubby, and our kids.  In about an hour, we'll be enjoying some cheese and chocolate fondu, followed by learning how to play Blokus which my son received for Christmas.  And I'm afraid that we'll ALL be in bed before the clock strikes twelve!

As I reflect back on 2012, it was a pretty good year.  January began with quite an improvement in my health, after having begun treatment for Lyme six months earlier, in June 2011.  I was actually ready to return to work teaching (on a modified schedule) by March.  It was tiring, but I managed to persevere and make it until the end of June, when I could rest up for 2 months.  In September, I returned to my regular half-day position and have been handling it well.  In November, I was able to stop the antibiotics after 18 months!  Whether I have been cured, or have simply gone into remission, is an "unknown" I'll just have to live with.

I have several New Year's resolutions.....all related to my health.  I admit that I have not been very diligent in boosting my immune system since I finished treatment.  I've fallen into some bad habits, so it's time to start fresh and get some good routines into my life.  Here's my list:

1. Lose weight!  I gained A LOT while I was sick, so now is the time to take it off and feel like myself again.
2. Eat well:  Low sugar, low carbs, lots of protein, and veggies.
3. Sleep! I must stop burning the midnight oil, even though I've been a night hawk since childhood. I'm going to shoot for at least 7 1/2 hours of sleep a night.
4. Exercise at least 3 times a week.  I joined a health club in November.  Now it's time to really USE my membership.

My list probably looks similar to everyone else's lists.  Fairly typical resolutions.  However, these things are so important to the health of a Lyme patient.  Keeping our immune system healthy is very important so that we don't relapse.

I'm going to leave you with a bit of news from the Lyme world.  Here is an interesting report from Lymedisease.org that was published around Thanksgiving.  It's a review of many positive things which happened with regard to Lyme disease in 2012.  Click here to read the report.

I wish you and your family a very Happy New Year!  May this be a year of good things for all of you.  If you are being treated for Lyme disease, may you have perseverance and peace.  The road will be bumpy, but it is one worth travelling to reach the destination of restored health.  My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A very Merry Christmas to you!

Dearest friends in the Lyme world,

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you the happiest of holidays, a joyous Christmas, and healthy New Year! 

May 2013 be a year of good things for all of us....improved health, remission from Lyme disease, a better educated public, and a government ready to help those afflicted with this awful infection through the creation of a National Lyme Strategy in Canada.

As I look back on the past year, I have been so blessed by this "cyber world"!  I am grateful for those who have Lyme blogs who I have been able to connect with on a personal level, for those who have contacted me asking for help, and for anyone reading my blog who might find something helpful there.  Yes, I am grateful for all of you, because your empathy has helped me cope, and others among you (namely those who have e-mailed asking for help) have helped me find a greater purpose in my own struggles with this illness.  I am humbled to be able to help guide others out of the Lyme maze.

This morning, as I listened to Pastor James Macdonald's broadcast on his radio program called "Walk in the Word", he had a great message which left me with food for thought:

                                      "It's never too late.  Wait."

His message was about waiting on the Lord for what we need, and it got me thinking about how much waiting there is in Lyme recovery.  The progress is so awfully slow.  We must cling to hope and learn to wait and be patient.  But this is not an empty hope!  It is the expectation of good things to come out of our circumstances, whether we are fully healed on this Earth or not. 

Jesus will provide us with what we need to get through this rough time, to persevere, to endure.  Without this knowledge, I don't think I could have held on.  I kept thinking of that expression, "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."  In those dark days of illness, I would picture myself hanging onto that knot!  Thanks to God, I did.  I waited, and waited, and waited, and over time, my treatment began to heal my body and mind.  I still think it is a miracle that I am perfectly well today (well....let's call it 95%) and able to live a normal life.

If you would like to listen to Pastor James Macdonald's audio broadcast in full, this came from his series entitled Jesus, the Promise:  Wait for Him - Part 3.  The audio broadcast can be purchased from his website here.

Once again, have a blessed Christmas as you wait on the One who can do all things, and who will provide in ways beyond comprehension, for those who put their trust in Him, and Him alone.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Another great (non-toxic) salad dressing!

Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette, Blueberry Goat Cheese, and Toasted Pecans

Sitting in my fridge is a bottle of homemade Lemon Basil Vinaigrette which I whipped up this afternoon.  I can't wait for my salad at dinner tonight!

So, why is this on a Lyme blog?  Two reasons.

First, it's going under my "Eating Well" subheading.  In order to recover from illness and give our bodies a fighting chance, we need to eliminate the chemicals that are found in so many foods, salad dressings being one of them.  Have you read the label of your store-bought salad dressing lately?  Are there a few words you can't pronounce, that sound like chemicals?  Do your liver a favour and make your own dressing!  It's so easy, and with the right oils, so good for your body.  By the right oils, I mean extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, or grapeseed oil.  Never use vegetable oil or canola oil.

Secondly, this Lemon Basil Vinaigrette comes from the U.S. restaurant Pizzeria Uno.  This was one of my favourite restaurants to frequent when we travelled to the U.S. for my Lyme appointments.  Now that I've finished my Lyme treatment, I'll definitely miss my visits to this restaurant.  It was always one of the highlights in an otherwise difficult and stressful trip.

This is not just any pizzeria.  Pizzeria Uno features some very unique and delicious pizzas.  I always loved the ones that had a whole-grain rustic crust that was slathered in olive oil, and topped with different varieties of mushrooms.  Fairly healthy, as far as pizza goes.

One day while dining there, I fell in love with their salad that had a generous helping of a delicious lemony, garlicky dressing on it.  I asked the waiter if they sold the dressing, and even though they didn't have any for sale, they did something even better.  The manager came and gave me a photocopy of the recipe!  Bonus!!!  Had I been able to buy a bottle, it would have eventually run out.  Now, I will have the dressing for life!  I must say that that was so very generous of them, and I am very appreciative, being the recipe addict that I am.

I have had the recipe in my possession for quite some time, but only made it for the first time today.  That's because I needed to do a little math to reduce the amounts in the recipe.  The recipe is written for restaurant use, and I don't usually keep 6 cups of olive oil on hand! LOL  With the recipe reduced to a more manageable size, I finally made it today.  I'm hoping that it tastes as wonderful as it does in the restaurant.

I am going to include both versions of the recipe:  the original one, with restaurant-sized quantities, and the reduced recipe.  I first divided the original recipe by 6, and then in half once more to come to the final numbers.  I hope I didn't mess up the math!  That's why I'm including the original for you to see, just in case.

Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette (which I have re-named Lemon Basil Vinaigrette because it sounds better!)

kosher salt                           2 tbsp.
black pepper                        2 tbsp.
seasoned minced garlic*     1/2 cup
fresh chopped basil             3/4 cup
fresh lemon juice                 1 1/2 cups
olive oil                                6 cups

*To season the minced garlic, add 1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning and a pinch of crushed red pepper.

Here is the reduced recipe.

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

kosher salt (or sea salt)        1/2 tsp.                                       
black pepper                        1/2 tsp.                      
seasoned minced garlic*      2 tsp.     
fresh chopped basil              3 tsp. (= 1 tsp. dried, but fresh is better)            
fresh lemon juice                 6 tsp. 
olive oil                                1/2 cup                               

*To season the minced garlic, add a pinch of Italian seasoning and less than a pinch of crushed red pepper.


1. Measure all ingredients except olive oil and place into a mixing bowl.
2. Using a wire whisk, briskly mix the ingredients while slowly adding the olive oil to blend.
3. Store in the refregerator until ready to use. 

Shelf life:  3 days

I think that the dressing needs time for the flavours to mesh together, so I'm refrigerating it for a few hours before using.  Beware.....it is REALLY garlicky!

The restaurant served this over a salad of field greens, with goat cheese and candied pecans.  Yum!

I ♥ Pizzeria Uno!  Please come to Canada!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Phases of Lyme

I finally started reading this book today.  Although I knew it to be an excellent resource, I just couldn't find it in me to read it while I was really ill.  I think, at the time, I just couldn't handle the information.  I was too scared.  But now that I've emerged from this illness, I think I can look at the topic more objectively.

Pamela Weintraub is a medical journalist who contracted Lyme disease in the early 1990s, along with her husband and two children.  So far, I've only read the Foreward and Introduction, but one statement really rang true for me and so many others with Lyme:

"When the head of infectious disease at Northern Westchester Hospital put his imprimatur on the diagnosis, we had an explanation for Jason's illness and an inkling as to what might be wrong with the rest of us, at last.

Our nightmare had just begun."  (p. 2)

Doesn't that sum it up?!  "Our nightmare had just begun."

This got me thinking about the whole process you go through from first symptoms to cure/remission.  In my opinion, Lyme sufferers go through 4 phases.

Phase 1 is when you are trying desperately to figure out what is wrong with you.  The doctors can't find anything conclusive, you have testing done, and nothing jumps out at even the specialists.  They might even tell you it's stress or anxiety!  You fight back.  You research things on your own.  You come up with the possibility of Lyme disease, and you send your blood to Igenex.  You discover that it IS Lyme!  You are so relieved that you have figured this out, without even the help of the local medical community.  Now, you can start treatment and get your life back!

Not so fast. 

You enter Phase 2.....the real beginning of the nightmare!  You search for a physician who will treat you.  No doctor around will touch you with a ten-foot pole.  They don't believe your Igenex results.  You search for a Lyme-literate medical doctor.  You contact Lyme groups for information.  You finally find a doctor, but he is in another country!  You get on a waiting list....and you wait, and wait, and wait....helpless at this point.  And you wonder how you will manage to get to appointments when you're feeling so weak and horrible.  Not to mention how you are going to pay for this treatment.  It's all so mindboggling, as you try to figure this out in your Lyme-fogged brain. 

But the story continues.....Phase 3.  You get the logistics all ironed out, and you begin treatment.  You're afraid because your doctor is so far away.  What if you have side-effects from the medication?  What do you do if you get worse?  You experience your first herxheimer reaction and you get really scared.  You read, and read, and read.  Looking things up on the internet practically becomes an obsession.  You search for websites and blogs.  You connect with other Lyme sufferers who can encourage you.  You have your ups and downs.  But slowly, over time, you start to improve.  You get a little better with each passing month.  You gain more confidence in your LLMD (who family and friends, and certainly your GP may think is a quack), and you're so grateful to have found him. 

And then comes the last phase.....Phase 4.  You actually recover!  You realize that you haven't herxed in a few months, and your symptoms have just faded away.  You are sleeping so much better, and the pain is gone.  It's a miracle!  And now it's time to come off the medication.  You can hardly believe that you made it through, but you did.  And now you try to take the best care of yourself that you can, to keep your immune system strong so you don't relapse.  You get back to your job, your friends, and your favourite activities.  You begin to enjoy life again, and are forever thankful for everyone who helped you along the way, and for your LLMD. 

After all you've been through, you are forever changed.  You truly have a new perspective on life.