Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

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.

What A Doctor Should Be – ©Karen Angotti

// June 10th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Family of Lyme, Guest Authors, LymeBites Blog, Lymenaide Awareness Campaign

(The following article is copyrighted and being used in it’s entirety with permission from the author). 

Helen Raser’s friend, Karen Angotti, is the mother of a beautiful young woman, Lisa Marie, who has been sick with lyme and co’s for about 20 years. Here is one of Karen’s many beautifully poignant pieces based on her long and difficult journey in the world of Lyme Disease. You may repost this article in its entirety only, please do not excerpt it, per Karen’s request.

©Karen Angotti

A doctor should be a hero, a knight in shining armor, the sheriff in the white hat. A brave, courageous defender against wanton diseases and virulent pestilences that kill, maim, and destroy. He should be someone who doggedly pursues the enemy without a thought of retreat. Relentless and determined, he fights until the last breath is gasped and the last, faint heart beat is pumped through the struggling body of someone he may not even know. For this is his mission, to fight death and pain, to endeavor to soothe, heal, and relieve. It is a thankless task for death and suffering are as much a certainty as anything in this world. For as soon as one hideous disease demon is squashed with his seemingly pitiful weaponry, another more dreadful and fierce replaces it; and the battle begins anew.

A doctor should be someone who cares more for people than for money or prestige. A doctor who does not care is like an airborne blind pilot who cannot see the runway or read his instruments. All the knowledge in the world will not land that plane without the eyes to see. And likewise all the knowledge in the world will not cure a patient that a doctor blinded by indifference and apathy cannot see is truly ill. For a real doctor will listen to his patients with a heart of concern. He will listen to all his patients not just those who are comely of form, polished, refined, and educated. And adding that working knowledge of the patient to his book knowledge and experience, he will attempt to piece together a treatment that will work. No computer can compete with this ability. For though computers can spit out a diagnosis based on symptoms and then prescribe a standard treatment, no computer has a heart that can see and hear the patient with his own peculiarities and idiosyncracies like a real doctor can. Compassion is at the heart of that indefinable “art of medicine.” Without it, a doctor might as well be replaced by a timesaving, efficient state-of-the-art computer whose memory has less capacity for error than a frail, fallible human mind.

A doctor should be humble realizing that his craft is far from perfected. Medicine is a science that is constantly changing and growing; and the modern “discoveries” of today may soon become the obsolete “discarded failures” of tomorrow. Only a doctor who is humble enough to recognize the gaps in knowledge that exist can begin to have the kind of open mind that considers intriguing, new ideas and possibilities which may become the discoveries of tomorrow. For if one thinks he knows all there is to know, he no longer looks for answers and the three little words, “I don’t know” cannot pass through the sweilling lump of pride in his throat. Pride can construct an impassable roadblock on the path to the future.

A doctor should be someone who enters not a profession but a ministry–someone who is there to serve not to be served. People (even doctors) are not at their best when they are sick and scared. Who would not be irritated by listening to endless complaints all day long year after year? Only someone who realizes that the reason for choosing this calling was to alleviate as many of those complaints as possible. And given the impossibility of curing all of these ailments, the reward must not come totally from the lessening of complaints or the adulation of patients but from the knowledge of a service well rendered. The greatest satisfaction must come from knowing that you have done your best sometimes against seemingly impossible odds. Unraveling an intricate, diagnostic puzzle, using an innovative technique, or maybe simply holding someone’s hand and saying, “I am sorry.” These are the things that make being a doctor worthwhile. These are the intangible things that make the endless complaints, petty annoyances, and invasions of time bearable.

A doctor should be someone who is honest and trustworthy. Qualities that we often ascribe as more necessary for bankers and accountants. But which has more intrinsic value–mere money or an irreplaceable life? Trust is necessary between doctor and patient or a crucial element that may mean the difference between life and death is missing. If a doctor is saying one thing to a patient and writing another in the chart or gossiping about him with other doctors and nurses, then a sacred, unspoken trust has been broken; and the breach may impinge the entire relationship.

A doctor should be someone who is courageous and undaunted by the challenges which he most surely will face. There will always be some in every profession who are dishonest and even evil, those who will use their power for gain no matter how many or who it harms. “All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” In medicine, perhaps more than any other field, it is imperative that the good men restrain the unsavory. For if they do not, who else will have the necessary knowledge or expertise to do so?

A doctor should be someone who is kind and discreet for ill-spoken words can scar
and maim as surely as a knife. And because these hidden scars are indetectable by any test or examination, they almost always cause a pemanent affliction–most notably a communication rift between doctor and patient that cannot be bridged.

A doctor should be someone who loves what he is doing so much that he would do it even if he were not paid or otherwise compensated. For in this ongoing battle between life and death, God’s most precious creation, Man, must inevitably confront his soul.

To my doctor, Edwin J. Masters, M.D., who showed me that a doctor could be what he should be.
Karen Angotti

Healing, One Lesson At A Time

// March 30th, 2010 // No Comments » // LymeBites Blog

My thinker appears to be broken.  Well not really broken, as much as sprained.  Maybe it’s the rain, the wind that has been howling through the Hudson Valley all day.  Maybe it’s just too late in the day for my brain to do any more thinking.  Either way what I set out to share with you all tonight has flown out the window in the last gust of wind.  For now, let’s talk about anniversaries. 

Friday was my 12 year anniversary working for the state.  It was odd I realized that the same day I was doing some stuff for disability and retirement.  I always figured if I retired after 12 years it would be because I somehow become a millionaire, not because my body has been infested with corkscrew-like bacteria for the past couple of decades rendering me almost unable to care for myself (if not physically, then financially). 

As I thought about that over the weekend I realized it was 14 years ago this week I moved to Albany.  Bright eyed and bushy tailed from 4 years in Utah and Idaho, I transferred to school up there which is what led me to working for the state.  You know the rest up until the next anniversary, which was 2 months ago when I left Albany to return to Saugerties to move in with my mom as I began IV treatment for my Lyme disease.  After 9 months of fighting this disease through oral antibiotics and other supplements it was time to move on to the big guns, and at the same time I gave up my apartment and it’s expenses to be able to continue to pay for treatment and medicine which was not being covered. 

It struck me as funny how it all came back full circle.  Starting with 14 years ago when I left Saugerties for Albany, to the career I had that kept me there until 2 months ago when I returned for reasons beyond my control (and to be quite honest beyond my ability to comprehend).  It’s more than just an Aerosmith song, full circle really does describe life pretty well. 

So I wonder what circle is being formed with all of this sickness and change going on.  A year ago my life was completely different.  I was pretty sick by that point, but I just didn’t know why.  But it was still a fast paced world where I commuted the 2 miles to work on a city bus, spent my days downtown in shirts and ties laughing with my coworkers, days spent in my cubicle working on budgets and spreadsheets. 

My life could not be any more opposite today than it was 365 days ago.  On my good days I will tell you that being sick with Lyme is really a blessing (on my bad days don’t even ask!)  Throughout the last 11 months one of the only ways to keep my sanity has been to find the good that has come out of being sick.  Some times it’s the littlest of things that I rely on to keep me going.  But as I ponder the anniversaries occurring and the circle that was created by those anniversaries…I can get a little excited finally.  Because this disease is starting a new chapter in my life.  I don’t do well with change.  Plain and simple.  But when I look at the changes in the last 14 years and the circle that just closed, I’m kind of excited to see what’s on the journey in the next circle. 

So while this all sucks royally…and when I say it sucks, I mean it.  This has been beyond anything I could have ever imagined.  But tucked within the layers of hell that I’ve endured in the past 11 months I have found quite a few things to be thankful for, several of which never would have happened without this illness.  Would I have chosen to be sick again if given the choice?  No…I could never knowingly go through that, but I can find some good things in it, and I know I will find many more as I get better and can start to get my life back. 

It helps when you can find some kind of purpose in what’s happening to you, especially when what’s happening to you is a life altering event.  There are days it’s easier to lay in bed and feel sorry for myself, but I know I feel better when I can get out of bed and find a reason to my day.  Day by day as I find reasons I can start to see the bigger reasons.  So today, while I’m frustrated at how slow my recovery feels, I am thankful for the progress I have made overall in the last 11 months.  I have come a long way in that time, and I’m grateful I’m still able to see that the grass is greener on the other side, and I’m beginning to see that soon enough I can get to the other side. 

It has recently occurred to me that perhaps my body is recovering one lesson at a time.