When did your journey with Lyme begin?
I like to call Lyme my “detour”; it showed up in my path at age 16. At the time, I didn’t quite understand what was happening to me or to my body. As a teenager, I was focused on trying to follow my peers down the set path we thought we were supposed to travel down. That involved schoolwork, sports, social events, PSATs, SATs, college planning…there wasn’t any room for a chronic illness in that picture, so I tried to ignore the signs and symptoms. My pediatrician hadn’t given me any concrete reason (yet) to do otherwise. But what I quickly learned was that when the Universe has provided you with a detour in your path, there is always a reason. We might not understand its purpose in that moment, but in hindsight, when you reach the other side, it makes sense. I also learned that if we try to ignore that detour, the Universe just provides another, perhaps larger, obstacle to redirect you to where you were always meant to be. So in hindsight, despite the harrowing tribulation that it eventually presented at the beginning of my journey, I have gratitude for Lyme. If it weren’t for my journey with the complex illness, I wouldn’t be where I am today, who I am today, know what I know today, and I wouldn’t be surrounded by the incredible individuals I’ve met along the way.
Was there a turning point in your journey?
I continued to try to walk down the path I chose for myself and attended University of California, Davis at age 18. I still had my head set on that particular road, but my heart and the Universe had a different route in mind for me. They kept offering signs that it wasn’t where I was meant to be, signs that eventually manifested as physical symptoms that I could no longer ignore. This isn’t what I would call the “turning point” in my journey just yet, but it was the moment that Lyme made itself clear that it was going to be my detour whether I gave it permission or not. I returned home, and that’s when I was diagnosed with Late Stage Lyme Disease. I then embarked on a rigorous pharmaceutical protocol to treat it. This provided me with new direction, but it still wasn’t my turning point. I like to think of the turning point in my journey as the moment that occurred a few challenging years later, the moment when I promised my body, my head, my heart and my spirit that from that day on I would honor its messages. It was the moment that I acknowledged the value and wisdom of my own intuition, and promised to listen to it. That’s when I allowed my head and my heart to guide me away from conventional and pharmaceutical treatment and lead me to the world of holistic medicine. That is the turning point where I not only discovered hope for healing, but it is where I discovered who I am and the world that was meant for me.
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” –Joseph Campbell
What are some of your favorite tools for healing?
Healing is my favorite thing to talk about. My wise and beautiful acupuncturist recently said to me, “the problems in this world are finite compared to the infinite possibilities that exist to heal them”. I’ve set the intention to stay open to any and all healing possibilities that show up in my path, so my holistic toolbox expands almost every day. I have such immense gratitude for how illuminating it has been. If you allow it to be, complex chronic illness can be a teacher, and your body can be a valuable tour guide on an adventure into a new world. Some of my favorite discoveries have been healing through food (going gluten free, discovering real food), homeopathy, meditation, bodywork, acupuncture, chiropractic neurology, grounding, earthing, bioenergetic testing (autonomic response testing and ZYTO), and energy medicine.
“When all your energies are brought into harmony, your body flourishes. And when your body flourishes, your soul has a soil in which it can blossom in the world. These are the ultimate reasons for energy medicine—to prepare the soil and nurture the blossom.” –Donna Eden
What’s one thing you wish others knew about living with Lyme Disease?
I wish that others could understand that just because the journey in healing Lyme Disease is long, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t hope on the other side. Just because an individual’s steps forward are slow and steady, it doesn’t mean profound progress isn’t being made. So, if someone you love has Lyme Disease, celebrate each moment, no matter how big or small. It’s those small moments that eventually weave together to create a tapestry of change.
In the end, I think healing is an evolution, one where each step mattered. Because Lyme Disease typically goes undiagnosed for so long, a complex picture develops where each part of the picture requires addressing and each layer addressed peels away to reveal a new level of wellbeing. So, because healing Lyme Disease is a journey of evolution, the picture you began with likely won’t look the same at the end. It’ll be bigger, brighter, and full of opportunity and light. Welcome that newfound picture of health.
What’s one thing you wish you could tell individuals who have just been diagnosed?
Trust the process. Trust your body. Trust yourself. Living in a body with Lyme Disease can sometimes feel like a scary place to be, but trust that your body is working for you. It’s doing hard work, and it’s succeeding. Be present. Trust that in this moment, your body is utilizing your protocol to heal. The mind, body, spirit connection is powerful. Strengthening that connection by grounding yourself in your body, releasing fear and resentment, and sending it messages of love, appreciation, gratitude and support can build a solid foundation for healing. Think of your journey as a novel, and each trial, tribulation, mess or success is merely a chapter. Today might be tough, but tomorrow you get to turn the page.
And, never forget: you are the hero of this story.
“Your biography becomes your biology” –Carolyn Myss, Anatomy of The Spirit
What’s been your biggest obstacle in your healing journey?
Because I traveled so far down a road that wasn’t meant for me and I didn’t have the awareness or the resources to address what was happening in my body, I’ve had to do a bit of extra “groundwork” on my body before it was ready to handle certain treatment modalities. Strengthening my organs, calming down autoimmunity and sensitivity, and stabilizing my autonomic nervous system have been my biggest obstacles, but also the experiences that have taught me the most. Each Lyme survivor’s big picture and health puzzle is different, and mine just came with a few extra pieces. I now understand why those pieces in my personal puzzle exist; they are what taught me to trust in our immeasurable capacity for endurance and strength.
Do you have a spiritual practice? How does that help?
I do! I believe that strengthening your connection to your spirit, as well as a higher power or our magical Universe, and inviting your spirit home, can often be the foundation for profound healing. For me, working with graduates of the Academy of Intuition Medicine in Sausalito and taking classes in energy medicine has impacted my healing the most, and was the catalyst in developing unwavering faith in not only myself and my ability to heal, but in the purpose that lays in my path. I believe that anything that grounds your spirit in your body, restores your faith, and allows you to release that which does not serve you or was not meant for you, is a spiritual practice. Perhaps when it comes down to it, that is what healing truly is: releasing what is not “us”, so our spirit can finally come home.
“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you” –Jack Kornfield
“As surely as there is a voyage away, there is a journey home.” –Jack Kornfield
What has been your biggest victory in your healing journey, and how did you overcome that obstacle?
In the middle of my journey, before my turning point, I developed a condition that affected by autonomic nervous system in such a way that I wasn’t always able to stand up or walk. One of my biggest victories is being able to say that not only did I “beat the odds” and progress to the point where I never have to rely on a wheelchair, I now leave my house and forge into the world on my own two legs without giving it a second thought. I’m so grateful for the holistic practitioners who play a role in the continued restoration of my physical strength, but I’m also grateful for the message that this experience has gifted me: physicians don’t possess a crystal ball. Your prognosis is not your destiny. Your prognosis is merely a suggestion. Anything is possible, and healing is probable, if you open yourself up to the infinite possibilities available to us.
I don’t believe in “magic bullets”, but I do believe in the magic of each story of hope that I hear; focus on those while you seek what’s going to be the catalyst in your own healing. Surround yourself with the magic of resilience and perseverance. Believe in the extraordinary possibilities of your own body and spirit.
In this moment, if you’re having trouble believing in your ability to heal, just know that I do. Until you’re ready, I’ll believe enough for the both of us.
What are your hopes and dreams for your future?
I can now say, with gratitude for this unique and unexpected path, that my journey has lead me to enroll in a Transpersonal Psychology degree program at Sofia University. It is my hope to obtain a Master’s degree in Integral Counseling Psychology and become a therapist for families and young individuals diagnosed with degenerative and terminal illnesses. I also have a special interest in empowering women with physical obstacles, autoimmunity and infertility. In the beginning of my journey, my future felt so uncertain. At one point, I wasn’t even sure if I would have one. Now, because my path has been illuminated by all that I’ve learned, I see that I would have never fulfilled my life’s purpose if I hadn’t experienced all that is entailed in healing Lyme. It wasn’t just my detour; it was my teacher, my guide, my guru, and even though at one point in my journey it looked like Lyme might take my life, it is what eventually saved it. Now, because of this journey, I can be who I was always meant to be.
Well Scent Social Media Manager