Posts Tagged ‘Gratitude’

5 Things I Love About Lyme Disease (Repost from April 2010)

// April 18th, 2012 // No Comments » // Eric's Blog, LymeBites Blog

(I originally wrote this in 2010…and shortly after was a guest on a local radio show about Lyme disease and Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and the person doing the show was really impressed with this post and how anyone could “love” anything about this nightmare…but I truly believe there are silver linings in every cloud, and so many wonderful things would not have happened the last 3 years if I had not gotten sick. Would I choose to do it again? I can’t say I would…but I can’t imagine my life now without many of the people that Lyme brought into it, as well the life lessons I’ve learned along the way. Been 2 years so I wanted to repost this and give others an opportunity to think about things that they love about Lyme disease. (Okay…maybe just things you like or are grateful for, but what things came into your life because of this disease that you now count as a blessing? Those are things we wouldn’t have if we weren’t given the opportunity to get sick and through that to grow and learn and become a better person from the experience.) So read what I said 2 years ago about things that could make me love being sick, think about your own journey and share with us what you’re learned to love since getting sick (or if you have a loved one who is sick, what you’ve learned to love as you’ve gone through the journey with your loved one). I hope everyone can find a way to find happiness in everything, in all that is good and bad. This disease is BAD. But there are still some truly amazing things that have happened. I’m working on an update to this post, 2 years later we’ll see what I still love about Lyme disease!) *Also please note, my milkshakes eventually turned into daily functional food shakes as I went off sugar, yeast, dairy, gluten and pretty much everything else…but in the beginning I didn’t realize what an important role diet plays in your recovery

One of the top 5 reasons I hate Lyme disease is because I have heart attack symptoms every day.  If I ever actually have a heart attack I won’t know the difference.  Now I’m wondering what the other top 4 reasons are that I hate it for.  But then I decided there are more than enough reasons to hate Lyme disease, and thousands of places a day that are devoted to the reasons to hate it. 

So how about something different?

Can you think of 5 reaons why you LOVE Lyme disease?  Okay, okay…stop laughing, I’m serious!  I know we’ve all been affected either as a victim of Lyme, or the loved one of someone with it.  But the old saying that every cloud has a silver lining is true, so if you really think about it, what about Lyme disease can you find that you LOVE?

For me it’s pretty easy to come up with 5 things:

1.  As much as I hate being out of work because I am so sick, it has been kinda nice having the majority of the last year off.  Granted at least half that time I was too sick to even be able to enjoy the smallest part of a day, but as I slowly get better there’s more and more I can enjoy about the day while I am still out of work. 

2.  I have become so much closer with my family and my friends.  There are always casualties in the relationship department when chronic illness strikes, but I seem to be blessed with such amazing friends the losses have been limited.  However the ones who have stuck by my side have been amazing blessings to me and in supporting me to keep fighting to get better. 

3.  I have an excuse to always say ‘no’ when people ask me to help them do physical labor.  I am 6’4″ and over 250 lbs, most peopl expect a strong man to help them carry things, lift things or move things.  Between Lyme disease and my PICC line I always have an excuse to sit back and sip a lemonade while someone else does all the hard work. 

4.  I love the Lyme disease community.  If I had some other awful disease, I think I’d try to sneak over to the Lyme disease side of the party because it is quite an amazingly talented, compassionate and loving group of people.  I can’t think of any other group of people I’d want behind me in this struggle then the community with which Lymies have to turn to. 

5.  Milkshakes.  I have had more reasons than ever in the last year to have milkshakes, and to have them without guilt.  (Of course this is backfiring at the moment while I’m completely sugar free right now, but it treated me well for a good 11 months or so.)  And the truth is, I love milkshakes.  So if I’m gonna have to suffer with something like Lyme disease, then I’m glad it’s reason enough to have good milkshakes on a regular basis.  (Anyone can have bad milkshakes on a regular basis.)

See how easy that is?  So I want to know…what 5 things can you come up with that you love about having Lyme disease?  (If you can only come up with 3 or 4 I will not be grading you on this, so that’s okay too.)

The original post can be found here: 5 Things I Love About Lyme Disease April 2010 Post

Gratitude Journal 7/23/10

// July 24th, 2010 // 4 Comments » // Eric's Blog, LymeBites Blog

Yesterday was not a good day for me to be grateful.  As I stated in an earlier post, I ran away for the day to hang with a friend, the one person who doesn’t make me feel like I’m sick.  So today, as punishment I’m making myself do a 5 item list of things I’m grateful for instead of my normal 3.  As an extra layer of punishment, I decided to publish this one.  I want you all to see what my daily gratitude journal is like.  (And I have been doing it consistently, I’ve spent a lot of time in the past few weeks documenting everything and journaling about everything.)

Drum role please:  So here we go!

#1  I am grateful for music.  My many varied and eclectic tastes in music.  When things are bad music always makes me feel better.  Sometimes I have to force myself to even listen to it – sure that it won’t help – but it always does.  As usual, I am my own worst road block.  Music motivates me.  I didn’t feel up to writing my gratitude tonight until I turned my laptop stereo on shuffle.

#2  I am grateful for friendship that stand the test of time.  Being able to be with my friend Dina today, to feel like not a day has passed between us year after year.  It’s been almost 25 years since we have considered each other best friends.  She is now married, with 6 beautiful kids, here visiting her mother’s summer home in the mountains.  Dina is a large part of who I am today.  For those who are always saying you’re my biggest “fans” for whatever reason, should thank Dina.  She taught me about life.  She taught me to grab life by the horns, is the person that has made laugh the hardest ever in all my life, and the person that first introduced me to Pizza Pizza at Little Caesars and their breadsticks, during a tornado in Coca Beach Florida.  (Oddly, that wasn’t our only experience of surviving a tornado together, but that’s a story for another day.)

#3.  I am grateful for the benefit that is coming up for me.  Beyond the fact that it’s to raise money to help pay for my treatment and keep me getting the help I need.  I am totally and completely surprised at the oupouring of love and generosity from the Lyme community. The last benefit I had in October was before we had created this amazing network/Lyme family/community.  I know most Lymies are in the same financial boat I am in – so to know some of them are actually doing things to contribute, offer goods for raffles etc just blows my mind.  I just never expected so many people to so quickly respond and offer such help.  I began to get all teary eyed every time I even begin to think about it.  Beauty in it’s purest form is unconditional love – Blessed be my Lyme community for showing me the purest form of beauty there is.

#4.  I am grateful for the 1,000 or so new people in my life because of Lyme.  No other platform would ever have given me the ability to become friends with and join with such amazing people to fight the Lyme monster with. They are such a blessing, you can’t begin to understand what it means to have such support.

#5.  I’m grateful God has chosen something new in my life.  Sometimes I wonder if getting sick was the Universe’s way of slapping me upside the head to say YOU’RE NOT LISTENING – THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU ARE ON THIS EARTH FOR.  Okay – I get the message.  My life has changed completely in 14 months.  Nothing is as it was – and nothing will ever be what it was.  But what it will become is all up to me.  How often do you get to totally reinvent yourself at the age of 37?  Not many – so advantage of it I must take.

Thank you for being part of tonight’s gratitude journal.  Are you keeping one yet?  Let me tell you, it helps keep your sanity in this crap storm of a disease most of us have found ourselves in.  It helps lessen the desire to end it all because you don’t see an end in sight.  Join me, I challenge you all to gratitude journal with me daily.  I’ll even give out gold stars to those who actually do it.

Love to you all for being part of this journey with me, for helping me to realize my role in this new “life”, for your unending support and for being a part of my life now, my Lyme life.  I am truly blessed to not walk this journey alone.  May you all find the same support and love on your journey.

Gratitude Follow Up – Please Comment

// July 1st, 2010 // 5 Comments » // Eric's Blog, LymeBites Blog

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article on gratitude, and the part I felt it played in Lyme disease.  If you missed it, or to read it again you can go here I Really Hope Oprah Is Not Reading This But I\’d Be Grateful If She Were.

So it’s been a few weeks, and the post was a reminder to me to really concentrate on being grateful for things.  Even when I’m not feeling well, or feel worn down from this disease I still focus on things to be thankful for.

Yesterday I was coming back from Albany and alone in the car, and thinking about some stuff that was on my mind, not bothering me, but just there.  Kind of like those survey people at the mall.  Just at the moment I was feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thoughts I was letting out I caught a pink cloud in the sky.  I did a quick check to make sure I wasn’t having a stroke or some other weird Lyme thing, and realized that there were indeed pink clouds reflecting a sunset I hadn’t noticed.  I took some time to appreciate the beauty of the clouds and said out loud “there’s still so much beauty to see in the world”.  At that point I had to get back to the fact I was going 70 mph down the highway and needed to keep an eye on the whole driving thing.

That’s one of many examples over the last few weeks since I wrote this post on gratitude.  But the point that was most brought out from that post was the many examples of so many people on ways they found gratitude through the suffering of their illnesses.  A long list of things people were thankful for suddenly appeared that I included in my post, and so many added more after it was published (read all the many comments).

So two weeks later I’m interested to see who else has been focusing on the things to be grateful for since the original post.  Has anyone started a gratitude journal?  Has anyone had any specific pink cloud type experiences that came about from being grateful?  What new things have you found to be grateful for?  I want to hear from you…your strength uplifts me as much as mine uplifts you (or at least as much as I try to uplift you).  Please share with us the new things you’ve found to be grateful for.

I’ll start.  I’m learned to be grateful journaling.  I recently found a ton of journals and writing of things I have no memory of.  Part of the Lyme memory loss (post coming on that topic).  But reading back through some of the things of the last 5 years I don’t remember, it was reassuring to be able to read the things I’ve lost.  I’m grateful for it also on a daily basis as it helps keep my thoughts organized.  With Lyme it’s easy for everything to get all jumbled in our minds. 

Okay, your turn.

I Really Hope Oprah Is Not Reading This (But I’d Be Grateful If She Were)

// June 13th, 2010 // 30 Comments » // LymeBites Blog

oprah lb pic 2Several years ago I had a supervisor who was a huge Oprah follower.  I remember very clearly the day she told me she felt I needed more gratitude in my life.  She told me how on Oprah she had learned to keep a gratitude journal, and every day to find 3 things to be grateful for.  It seems relatively easy…until you begin, soon you really have to search to find things to be grateful for.  But as you do that your view on life suddenly changes because you are actively searching for things to be grateful for. 

Today I’m thinking about gratitude and Lyme disease.  I personally am not a follower of Oprah.  I’m really more just afraid of her.  I am sure that some day she will be running the Universe and we will all be her minions.  And that’s okay, because I think it’s inevitable.  I try not to say anything bad about her for fear of her wrath.  All joking aside though, Oprah has a point.

I’ve decided healing from Lyme cannot be done without gratitude.  There’s more than antibiotics and supplements in healing from a life altering disease like Lyme.  I am sure that gratitude is part of that. 

Those of us who suffer from Lyme disease are FULL of anger.  At so many things.  The IDSA (Infectious Diseases Society of America), our health insurance companies, the Dr’s who will not treat us or can’t find out what’s wrong with us, our friends and family that don’t believe we are sick, etc. 

I have so much anger at this disease for all it has taken from me (and the ones I love).  I reached a point where I had to turn that anger into something more than a forming ulcer.  The last thing I needed while fighting this horrible disease it to make myself sicker because of this anger.  So I began to redirect, and that’s why this website is before you now.

In my one year battle (and I understand that I am still “new” to this, there are many who have struggled for as long as I’ve been alive with this disease) I have learned that you cannot heal with anger.  It’s negativity, and that will just prolong your journey to healing.

But your anger is real, and not something you can just get rid of. 

While I feel you can’t heal from Lyme if you’re full of anger, I also feel you can’t heal from Lyme without gratitude.

So why not turn your anger at this disease into gratitude for the things this disease is teaching you?  While yes, I am so angry that I haven’t been able to work in a year, that I’ve lost my apartment and the life I had, I am so grateful to be alive at all.  How many of you have thought you were going to die at some point during your struggle with this disease?  Do you remember how scary it was to think this disease was going to take your life? 

But you made it through that, and you will make it through it again when the “bad times” return, but don’t you think it appropriate to thank God (or whatever you believe in) that you ARE still here?  So as angry as I am at what this disease has taken from me, I turn it into gratitude that I’m still alive.

The decision is yours.  Will you sit and stew in your own anger?  Or will you take that emotion and find something you are grateful for?  I can guarantee you that if you start making the list of what you’re grateful for longer than the list of what you’re angry about, you will be helping your own healing.  The negativity we feel from this disease can only bring us down. 

So as much as I hate to admit it, all these years later, I think Oprah is right.  And we all should start gratitude journals, or at the very least begin to make lists of what you are grateful for.  Can you walk again after being too sick to walk for a while?  Can you drive again after not being able to drive because of seizures, etc.?  Can you make your words into sentences again after not being able to think well enough to write (this is from my own list of gratitude)?

Again the choice is yours alone to make, but you can choose to be grateful instead of angry.  Today I choose to be grateful that as awful as I feel, and I feel worse than I have in probably 6 months, that I am surrounded by love.  From the love in my mother’s home where I now live, to the love of friends I’ve spent time with today, to the text I got from the friend who misses me and just wants to let me know they love me.  I’m no longer angry I’m stuck in bed today, I took my angry energy and turned it into gratitude.

So what are you going to choose to do with your anger?

I put it out on Facebook today asking people what they are grateful for today.  I’d like to turn the rest of this post over to the people on Facebook and the things they are grateful for today.

Marjorie said sunshine and good weather.

Yvonne said a brand new life in my granddaughter 3 days old and beautiful.

Debbie said God, grand kids and Facebook friends.

Ashley said for waking up this morning next to a beautiful river, to the sounds of the birds singing and rushing water.  “I’m grateful I had enough energy to go camping!  Yay!”

Paula said for air conditioning on this hot muggy day.

Yvonne said for finding her LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) and the treatment he is providing. 

Geri said she’s thankful for husband that has stuck by her through this, that she still has her mom, and that she has so many friends who are also on this “pass less travelled”. 

KC said for last night’s rest, and the sound of the rain and the cool air coming in her windows during the time she was awake.  She’s thankful to be thinking fairly clearly and functioning decently for over a week.  She’s also thankful for Christ for always giving what is best, though she may be too blind to see it yet.  She is thankful for a church family that prays for her and to eat watermelon and seriously call it dessert (no comparison to the petro chemical tasting fudge brownie next to the watermelon). 

Jodi said for her doctor.

Ashlie said for God, her family and being able to enjoy exploring the grocery store pain free today.

Brenda said she’s grateful for all the other lyme patients on Facebook. Grateful that her daughter Sami is not any worse than what she is right now. Grateful for LLMD’s, even though they are few and far between. Grateful, that even though it is a huge struggle to get treatment, that people have helped her find ways around, under or how to bust straight thru to get what Sami needs. She is grateful to have hope and a belief that things will get better with this damn disease and so grateful that she still lives in a country where she can say what she needs to say.

Angela said for all Lyme friends and the support and encouragement we share. Grateful to God for being there with her every step of the way on this journey so she was never alone. Grateful that her two boys are healthy and happy, grateful that she has meds today, grateful that she has food to eat and water to drink, grateful for her flowers, grateful for the sunshine today. Grateful for her LLMD.

Kristen said she’s grateful for her friendships she’s made with all her Lyme friends.  She is grateful for they’re support, encouragement and advice. She’s grateful for the support of her family and employees and they’re understanding that sometimes she may not be herself.  She’s grateful that she still has a roof over her head and she’s able to put food on her table after how much this disease has affected her financially. She is grateful for her doctor’s support, friendship, figuring out what was wrong with her, and he may not be a full LLMD but he is quickly approaching it! Most of all she’s grateful to still be alive today.  “Thank you to all my Lyme friends! You’ve been such a help to me! Love you all!” said Kristen.

Sierra said she is thankful for the dear, loving, supportive, helpful Lyme friends she’s made over the years.  She is grateful for her faith in God and the power of prayer. She says staying positive is soooo so important when dealing with any chronic illness. A person’s thoughts are powerful and effect health in ways most people don’t even realize. She’s thankful for loving parents who have supported her this entire time.  She’s thankful for a roof over her head, food to eat, her pets, being able to still walk and talk and function enough to leave the house. She is thankful for her few true friends who did not abandon herme when she first became ill.  She is thankful for living in the USA where she has access to LLMD’s and meds and natural medicine practices and supplements.  She is grateful for the little things in life.  The ability to laugh, especially at herself has been a huge factor in her healing. Instead of getting frustrated and mad at finding her cell phone in the fridge, she learned to laugh at her wandering mind’s antics.

Sharon said she could write a book on this “- my LLMD – nanosilver – networking with other Lymies who remove the isolation – good days - my faith – prayers – that i only have to live one moment at a time – that i don’t have to solve the oil crisis – that i can write about my journey and connect with others through that writing”

Noel said she’s thankful for a friend like Eric (that’s me!)

Tricia said the wonderful people who have appeared in the lives of her and her son when they really needed help along this challenging road…including a very determined? stubborn? LLND, the beautiful smiles on the faces of her son and his sister when they give each other “friend hugs”, her kitties for the lovies they give when it’s needed most and being able to spend time in her yard playing in the dirt.

Julie said she is thankful for over a week of more normalcy and functionality than she has had in years…it was a good run. She sure enjoyed it!!

Cheryl said she’s thankful she has a really good Lyme doctor that is doing everything she can to get her better.  It’s truly a tough fight but she can’t give up just yet.  She’s meeting new people that are struggling as she is with L D and she would love to meet more for support because we’re all in this together.  She is also greatful of being able to wake up and see her little boy who she loves so much.

Gail said she is thankful her daughter is showing signs of true healing, she saw her run last week-end when only 6 months ago she was using a walker.  She is so thankful that they have started to return to a normal family life with time to think about the things they are greatful for.  She is so thankful for all the people on Facebook that have helped them get through these crazy times.

Jen said she’s so grateful for her daughter who gives her a reason to get out of bed and whose love makes her thank God for her life as small and agonizing as it may sometimes be.

Cathy said the little kids who ask her questions without judging, and know just when it’s perfect to curl up and read books with her! Nieces and nephews keep her alive!

Kim said she is grateful for modern technology which has enabled her to connect with such a large group of people who have shared information, and personal stories – some funny and some sad, about Lyme Disease, and related topics. Knowledge truly is power.