I have struggled with not wanting to burden those around me with the diseases my body fights off for me on a regular basis. While those of us with chronic illness are certainly in a tough spot, I also cannot imagine the position my loved ones are in. I know they want to love me and help me when I am in physical pain but no one knows what to do. I do not even know what to do most of the time! I can fall into a mentality where I avoid even mentioning the physical pain I may be presently experiencing to a loved one. I do not want to worry them or pass on the feelings of helplessness I often feel. I have heard things like “I’m worried about your memory” , “I wish there was something I could do for you”, “What can I do to help you?” I think our loved ones may feel as powerless at times as those of us fighting the illness.
Here is the fine line. I am not a victim of Lyme disease and Lyme disease is not “my” disease. So while I choose to not wallow in my pain or complain about it daily, it is also necessary to give myself and yourself permission to invite people in to show up and to support you. In those vulnerable moments, all we really want and need is love.
Speak up to your loved one, be it a parent, dog, boyfriend, friend, whoever or whatever! Ask them if you need a hug or to be told you are okay even when you feel like you are not. People cannot read our minds. People want to be there for you with the disease you are fighting, so don not be afraid to invite them in or to simply ask for what you need.
One of the best support systems when dealing with chronic illness is to find someone else who is also dealing with chronic illness. Fortunately and unfortunately there are tons of us out there! It is so helpful to confide in someone who understands that no one really understands.
Anyone with chronic illness or an autoimmune condition can relate to the feeling when you are out in public, maybe doing one more errand that you should have, and you hit a wall. It’s a feeling when your fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, whatever it is, hits you like a ton of bricks. It is in those moments where all I can think about is crawling into bed and being in a dark room.
I remember one time in particular when I felt this way. I was at Whole Foods (go figure) with my mom who also fights Lyme Disease. Fortunately, she is someone who when I say I’m feeling “Lymey” won’t look at my like I’m crazy. Instead, she’ll probably say “me too.” We were on vacation in Maine and searching an unfamiliar grocery store for grass-fed beef bones to make bone broth. I asked the butcher behind the counter who kindly found some in the back and cut them up for us.
While we were waiting for our bones, a woman next to me started talking to me asking what I was doing with the bones. I replied I was making bone broth. And I kid you not, here is what she said “I looked in your eyes and knew you had Lyme disease.” Woooowwww. While we were making bone broth, my mom and I had never uttered a word about Lyme disease in the Whole Foods. We got to talking, and she shared how her fingers used to look exactly like mine. We all laughed together and shared experiences like forgetting words or what you were about to say from brain fog.
She was the first person I had met with Lyme who looked at me and could confidently convey I know how you feel! I’ve been there too and now I’m better! It gave me such hope that I one day too could have “normal” looking fingers and be free from joint pain. She recommended a detox drink that she drank daily. She said it helped her swelling and pain. As a Lymey, you are always willing to try anything if you hear it even has the potential to make you feel better!
Here is the place where I get to the detox drink. I cannot take credit for this recipe because it is from the angel at the Portland, Maine Whole Foods. I do not even know her name, but hey, whoever you are, thank you for showing me a year ago that healing is possible. And for this amazing drink that I can now share with even more people.
You can enjoy this drink year round. Right now, I’m loving it first thing in the morning over ice. I find it hydrating and energizing. In the winter, I find it super nourishing warmed up in a mug. I love that turmeric is becoming more mainstream. I can go on forever about it’s healing properties. Curcumin, the property in turmeric, is a natural pain reliever, reduces joint inflammation, and is a strong antioxidant. This drink amazingly combines turmeric, ginger, and lemons-my favorite “go-to’s” for detox. They all boost your immune system and fight inflammation. You can add in 1-2 tablespoons of honey for flavor.
Store the drink in a pitcher in the fridge. Be sure to stir the drink before you pour it into a glass. The spices will inevitably sink to the bottom. I like to enjoy the drink in a Mason jar and keep the lid handy so I can shake it up as need be. You can even water it down if the flavor is too potent. The one downside to this drink is that turmeric will stain! I have unfortunately ruined a couple items of clothing from the magical spice. So while you enjoy this golden detox drink, I do hope you are not as clumsy as I am.
How do you let others support you on your healing journey? I would love to hear from you whether it’s about your support system or thoughts on the Golden Detox Drink.
Golden Detox Drink
3 tbsp. of turmeric
2 tbsp. of ginger powder
Juice from three lemons
1 tbsp. of fresh sliced ginger
1-2 tbsp. of organic honey (for taste)
2-3 cups of boiling water
*Boil 2-3 cups of filtered water
*Peel fresh ginger, and place a couple slices in a large pitcher
*Add spices, lemon juice, and honey
*Pour hot water into pitcher and stir
*Enjoy detox drink hot or cold! Before pouring a cup, be sure to stir mixture so spices do not sink on the bottom
*The fresh ginger peel adds flavor-if it gets in your cup either eat it raw like I do or dispose
*I enjoy the drink in a Mason jar with a lid so I can shake up the spices that sink to the bottom
*If the flavor is too strong, water it down or fill cup with ice