I was diagnosed January of 2014 after my immune system plummeted when I came down with the Epstein barr virus (mono). It was devastating and relieving news all at the same time. I contracted it around the age of ten when I was living in the woods of NJ. For over a decade I was in and out of doctor’s offices running tests and looking for answers. When the tests results came in positive it gave me something to treat, something to work on. Before, I was discouraged and frustrated, shooting in the dark with strict diets, supplements, and palliative measures. I finally knew what my body was screaming at me so desperately trying to communicate. On the outside I look healthy, but on the inside I feel like my body is failing me and at 22 years old that is not acceptable. I have my entire life ahead of me and I will not let this disease change how I live.Read More
Lyme Disease was honestly just a name for the myriad of problems I had been dealing with since early adolescence. Chronic illness was nothing new; I watched my grandmother slowly slip away from a combination of medical mysteries that included Crohn’s Disease, ankylosing spondylitis, and many others. As a kid, I battled constant headaches and seasonal allergies that worsened after my family moved from Massachusetts to Texas.
I remember having a lot of growing pains and being tired. I never wanted to run around like the other children my age. In 2010, my headaches worsened. My best friend recommended that I try a gluten-free diet, which miraculously cured the problem. I always managed to pick up weird things, like a staph infection on my face after a week of backpacking.Read More
I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in early 2013, after ten years of searching for an answer to my chronic migraines which turned into chemical sensitivities, mold sensitivities and neurological symptoms. My health became drastically worse about one month after I married my husband, when I moved into his home- a brand new starter house. You may not be aware that new building materials are highly toxic and give off chemicals such as formaldehyde in the form of a gas. Some people with strong bodies have no noticeable problems with this, but I was not one of those people. My body was so damaged from the Lyme Disease I did not yet know I had, that the chemical off gassing triggered downward spiral. We barely had a newlywed stage and jumped right into "in sickness and in health". The saddest part of this experience for me has been fighting for better health instead of being able to immerse myself into my marriage right away. I'm not able to work full time, because the stress of being mentally "on" for forty hours a week is too much for my adrenals to handle.Read More
Question: Letting go. In the process of being diagnosed with Lyme Disease, what things have you had to sacrifice and let go of? And how do you cope and adjust to this new way of life?
Keri: Letting go is very hard, especially because I really loved my extremely active and on-the-go life, and I miss it. By the age of 26 I had traveled to over 20 countries, lived abroad twice, and earned two college degrees. I find myself saying “before I got sick I did this...” “when I was healthy I was very...” so that type of language and thought implies that I can’t be myself or be who I am because of my symptoms and how this disease has plagued my brain. Besides the stress and pain of being sick, we are sick with bacterias that our government denies and doesn’t even know how to test for or treat! Now that I am out of my brain fog and have my short-term memory back, I adjust and cope by practicing non-attachment from yoga, realize that every moment, emotion, and body ache is fleeting, and I tell myself and my body how much I love them.Read More
But my favorite self-love coping tools include: mindfulness + meditation practices, journaling exercises, spending time outdoors, playing with my awesome pup, and connecting with others who understand (Instagram is a great way to do this!).
Question: Following your passion. What activities do you do for yourself that help feed your mind and body? And how do these activities help you stay motivated through the good and the bad?
Adrienne: I like to consider myself a Jackie-of-all-trades, and have so many different passions. I enjoy learning, creating, connecting, traveling, and playing! Spending time outdoors nourishes me on so many levels – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Even if all I can do is sit out in my backyard – the sun, sounds, and earth are so healing.Read More
This is, Kristen, known to many as, Rainbow Dash (her trail name).
A little bit about her and her "home"...
I get my mail in a small town in rural Kentucky. I've been told that "my people" are in Asheville, NC, or the Pacific Northwest, but I've yet to live in either of those locales. I'm a bit of a nomad; I had five address in eight months in 2013. But, hey, "not all those who wander are lost," right? I turned 26 on trail this year; I celebrated with a road walk detour because the PCT had a fire closure. I was bitten by the tick that gave me Lyme four days after I turned 22. It was two years before I became noticeably (and severely) ill and nearly another year before I was diagnosed.
Where did your passion of hiking derive from. Was it recent, or does the itch go way back?Read More