Welcome to my blog! This is a place of information and hope for fellow Canadians who are suffering from Lyme disease. I want to share with you the knowledge I have gained during my fight with this debilitating, frightening, and misunderstood illness. I hope you will be blessed.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

It is my prayer that all of you who celebrate Christmas will have an enjoyable time with family and friends and be able to leave your troubles behind if even for a short time.  It is so important for us to connect with people.  Let us not allow our chronic illness to define us or rob us of the good things that this life has to offer.  Sure, we may not be able to do everything we would like, but let us find pleasure in the small things, and in the things we are still able to do.  Let us have hope as we begin 2015....for our personal situation, and for the greater Lyme issue.  We have seen some major developments in 2014 with the passing of Bill C-442 in Canada to create a Federal Framework on Lyme Disease, and with the passing of the bill in New York State protecting physicians who treat Lyme.  Change is slow, but it IS happening.  Hope is in the air!

On that note, I wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!  God bless!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Oh Happy Day!!! The Federal Framework on Lyme Disease Act Becomes Law!

This is the day we have been waiting for for 2 1/2 years!  Today, Elizabeth May's Bill C-442 passed third reading in the Senate and will become law!  Whoooo hoooo!  Check out the news release.

Elizabeth May has worked tirelessly to ensure the passage of the Federal Framework on Lyme Disease Act.  We are indebted to her!  She and many, many MPs recognized the need for this law due to the spread and threat of Lyme disease in Canada.  The fact that the law was supported unanimously in both the House of Commons and the Senate shows how hard all Lyme activists worked to educate their local representatives by sharing their stories, circulating petitions, writing to newspapers, emailing their MPs, and the list goes on.  Anyone who has done even the smallest thing can claim a part of this great victory!
Now that said, I am not so naive to think that things are going to change overnight.  Lyme treatment is divisive in the medical community.  Canadian infectious disease doctors, for example, are opposed to some of the wording in this law and still wish to adhere to the flawed IDSA (Infectious Diseases Society of America) standards of treatment.  Although they will be in the minority when everyone gathers at the table, they still pose a threat with the roadblocks they will put up.  I do believe that the process of creating a strategy for dealing with Lyme in Canada will be a slow one and a bit of a battle.  It may be several years before Lyme patients will really benefit from this law.  
This notwithstanding, some hope has now been injected into a situation that was, up until now, pretty hopeless.  For the time being, we may still have to seek help from U.S. physicians and pay for treatment out-of-pocket, but at least there is a light at the end of this long tunnel. 
Thank you, Elizabeth May!
If you want to watch the second reading of the bill in the Senate, click here.  It's very interesting!

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Lyme News

Thank you to a reader of mine who brought this article to my attention.  Please have a read.  It is a much better depiction of the Lyme situation in Canada.

I am so pleased to learn that "a private member’s motion was passed with all-party consent in the legislature Nov. 27 calling for Ontario to develop an integrated strategy on Lyme disease, to be tabled within one year." (Article:  Lyme Warning No Surprise to Sufferers, www.yorkregion.com)

A similar proposal at the federal level, Bill C-442 introduced by Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, has a bit of a fight on its hands.  Although it has passed all three readings in the House of Commons, there is some opposition by a group of infectious disease doctors.  See this link for all of the information.

OK, so this is going to be an uphill battle, but how great that the Lyme issue is finally getting the attention of people who can actually help to provide real solutions.  I'm sure that in my lifetime, there will be major developments and people will no longer be left to suffer with this devastating illness.

Keep praying!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Below is an article from thestar.com from November 26, 2014.  Wow, it's great that they are continuing to spread the word about Lyme disease.....and in the winter!  However, there are a few missing details in the article.  Frankly, the article reads like an overly simplified statement that the public health unit might make.  Sadly, the public health unit doesn't have a full understanding of the gravity of this illness.  Within the article, I have taken my "teacher red pen" and added or corrected information.  Please read so that you are not misinformed as well.

Ticks carrying Lyme disease bacteria found in Rouge Valley

Health officials warn the public of ticks and Lyme disease becoming "established" in the area.

Health officials in Toronto, as well as York and Durham regions are warning the public after blacklegged ticks in the Rouge Valley tested positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, according to Toronto Public Health.

A statement released Wednesday said public health units searched for blacklegged ticks, which are the only type of ticks in Ontario that can carry the disease, after receiving reports from members of the public.  My LLMD (Lyme-literate medical doctor) told me that he believes that mosquitoes and black flies can carry the disease, too!  Officials then sent samples for testing and identification. Some tested positive.
Although the ticks are more likely to infect people during the warmer summer months, Toronto Public Health warn the bugs and the disease “are becoming established in the Rouge Valley,” which has been a low-risk area for Lyme disease.  As far as I'm concerned, Lyme has been here for a while.  What else would explain the hundreds of Lyme patients left with no care after a Toronto infectious disease doctor closed his door to Lyme sufferers in 2011 (due to threats from the medical board)?  This caused a mass exodus of patients to the U.S. in search of an LLMD there.
Health officials are advising the public to reduce the risk of getting bitten and infected by taking precautions, including: wearing long-sleeves, long pants, socks and closed shoes; tucking pant legs into socks, and wearing light-coloured clothing to make ticks more visible; using bug spray with DEET on clothes and exposed skin, as well as checking skin and clothing thoroughly after activities in wooded areas.  DEET is not effective in repelling ticks!  I would not rely on it.  However, there is a spray called permethrin that is used on clothing (not skin) which does repel ticks.  Also, you should do a tick check on your body when you come in from the outdoors, as well as shower right away.
Toronto Public Health says early removal of ticks will prevent possible infection, as the transmission requires the tick to be attached for at least 24 hours.  There is much controversy about this. Many Lyme specialists say the time is much shorter than this.
Early symptoms of lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics.  Very true!  But if you are bitten and do NOT have symptoms, GET TREATMENT ANYWAY!  My LLMD would provide 3 weeks of antibiotics with a bite in the absence of symptoms.  If early symptoms have developed, then he would give 6 weeks of antibiotics.  If you are sick for a long time before diagnosis, then LLMDs would prescribe antibiotics on an ongoing basis until symptoms have resolved. 
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, fatigue, and red bull’s eye rash.  Yes, these are often the symptoms of early, acute Lyme disease.  But not all of us produce these symptoms.  Only 50% of people bitten develop a rash, and it isn't always a bulls-eye rash.  In my case, I had NO early symptoms!  I developed all sorts of strange symptoms, including neurological symptoms, many months later.  (It might even have been a year or two later.)

In this article, there is no mention of the fact that the baby ticks, called nymphs, are the size of a poppy seed!  You might never know it burrowed into you.  And apparently, the tiny ones are highly infectious.

The article also doesn't mention that you may have to FIGHT with your GP or the ER doctor to give you antibiotics!  Some doctors will want you to send your tick to the lab for testing before antibiotics are prescribed.  My advice......DO NOT WAIT!  It could take a week or two to get the lab results back, and by then the bacteria may have spread to other organs.  Insist on treatment right away!  It is not worth the risk!

Finally, be sure to remove an imbedded tick properly, otherwise the tick is more likely to inject you with the bacteria.  See my tab above called "Protect Yourself from Ticks" for the safest methods of tick removal.

The Toronto Star gets a "C" for this article.  They need to do their homework better.  The public needs more information than this.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Medical War

One thing is for certain......we are at war.  There are casualties.  And there are some survivors.  Many are hovering in no man's land.  There is anger and there is misunderstanding.  Right now, it's messy.  And dangerous for many.  But I do think my side is gaining ground.

It's the Lyme war. 

People ask me, "Why can't you get treatment here?  Why don't doctors understand about this illness?"  Here is one LLMD's answer to this question.  You can check out his wealth of knowledge on his blog LymeMD.  This is what Dr. Jaller posted yesterday.

Why your doctor does not believe in Lyme disease

In his new book, Dr. Horowitz gently discusses the issue. He talks about a paradigm change. This doesn’t answer the question for patients on a visceral level.
I surveyed some physician friend colleagues asked them if they can think of another disease that has been as divisive as Lyme disease.  They always come up empty-handed.  

Your doctor is being bashed by medical boards, ridiculed by other medical professionals, even shunned and ostracized and generally not having a good time (in some arenas, not globally).

You are angry, infuriated, incensed, bellicose or just pissed off. 

Patients new to this world all ask same question.  Why?

There is a war going on. Years ago, I had a conversation with an infectious diseases specialist I thought was collegial; at the end of the discussion I said “I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.” She said no we won’t and proceeded to report me to the Medical Board. Doctors don’t usually report their colleagues to Medical Boards. Most follow the rule, “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”

Phenomenologically, Dr. Steere and infectious diseases specialists saw Lyme as a vector borne illness causing joint pain or rash: something straightforward. Something easy to treat.

Phenomenologically, Dr. Burrascano and primary care colleagues saw patients in Lyme endemic areas as poly-symptomatic; patients had every symptom in the book.

Dr. Steere, Dr. Burrascano, myself and likely all the physicians I can think of were taught that there is no disease that causes so many disparate symptoms. They have a “positive review of systems,” meaning they have a psychiatric disorder. Easy one.  

Lyme breaks the mold.

Dr. Burrascano and others thought all these patients cannot be crazy; something else is going on. The cohort of sick patients lived in rural areas known to have a lot of Lyme, they enjoyed outdoor activities, they had a history of previously treated Lyme disease, they had a history of tick bites, the had a history of rashes and summer flus, or they just had an insidious, progressive disease. 

First impressions are important. Dr. Steere’s first impression was that Lyme causes joint pain and is easy to treat.

Dr. Burrascano’s first impression was that these were very sick patients, commonly referred to a “train wrecks.” These patients got better when given antibiotics; symptoms returned when antibiotics were stopped; symptoms got better again antibiotics were restarted. The first impression was that Lyme is a complex multi-system disease which is hard to treat.

These two groups were describing something entirely different, something universes apart. Both were called Lyme disease. 

The war began. Steere was reported to a Medical Board. Burrascano was doomed. Once the war broke out the truth didn’t matter. Since Steere and his colleagues are associated with Ivy League institutions they won the battle. They have created educational programs for doctors espousing their point of view and ridiculing the views of the other camp.

I hope the answer to the big question is contained in the above narrative. 

In this war I see the IDSA crowd is calling lymies and their doctors crazy and “antiscience.”  Lymies believe the IDSA crowd is involved in some vast conspiracy. Get a grip.

It comes down to stubbornness, hubris and ego. They call me “antiscience.” A friend once told me: “watch what they call you; that is what they are.”

Friday, November 07, 2014

Sleep, glorious sleep!

Oh my, this fall is passing by so quickly!  Time doesn't usually do that for me; it's usually slooooow, but not this year!  Soon it will be time for winter boots and Christmas preparations.

So how have I been doing?  On the Lyme front, VERY well!  My typical Lyme symptoms are still under control, and I've been able to wean completely off sleep medication.  For that I am so, so grateful.  I've been sleeping wonderfully (i.e., falling asleep easily and sleeping straight through with minimal wake-ups in the night) which is something I was deprived of when I was in the grip of the illness.  That said, I'm not sleeping LONG ENOUGH - totally my own fault for going to bed too late.

For all of the Lymies out there, here is one of the most important pieces of advice......GET ADEQUATE SLEEP!!!  It's important for your healing.  It's also important to help keep the Lyme in remission because our body repairs itself at night and adequate rest improves the immune system among other things.  Wow, I sure notice a difference in my life when I'm not sleeping enough.  I drag myself around all day, feel so lethargic after work, have no motivation or energy for exercise, and crave sugar to give me a boost.  Bad on all fronts. 

If you have Lyme and are suffering from insomnia, I urge you to speak to your LLMD about temporary solutions.  I absolutely hated the idea of being on sleep medication, but realized it was necessary.  I was so afraid of becoming addicted to it.  The sleep medication I used, zopiclone, is not "technically" addictive.  However, your body can develop a tolerance to it and require more and more.  When I decided to try getting off zopiclone, I weaned off very slowly over many months, cutting my pill in half, then in quarters.  Then, I got a lower dosage pill and cut that one into quarters.  By the time I stopped taking it, the tiny bit I had been taking really wasn't doing anything for me anyway, so it was pretty easy to just quit at that point.

On that note, let me wish you all the best in your quest for good sleep. 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What will your treatment look like?

I know how scary it is to go to your first appointment with your new Lyme-literate medical doctor (LLMD) and come away with a handful of prescriptions.  So many thoughts swirl around in your head:
  • Are all of these drugs really necessary?
  • Why so many?
  • Can my poor body handle all of this?
  • How am I going to afford this?
  • Am I crazy to do this?
  • Am I crazy not to do this?
Yup, I get it!  But honestly, I think that by the time you visit your LLMD, you're at the end of the line of those who can help you; you've seen every Tom, Dick, and Harry specialist out there.

After visiting two LLMDs and getting the dreaded diagnosis, and after thinking about the scary treatment options ahead, my self-talk sounded something like, "What do I have to lose?  Absolutely nothing.  Could I feel any worse?  Could life be worse?  I'm in pain.  My anxiety is through the roof.  I'm off work on sick leave.  My family is taking care of my house and kids because I can't do anything.  I have nothing. to. lose."

You might be wondering what Lyme treatment may look like for you.  The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) had just published new guidelines for treating chronic Lyme disease.  Now please don't confuse ILADS with the IDSA (Infectious Diseases Society of America). 

ILADS = good
IDSA = bad 
Doctors in Canada are unfortunately bound by the rules of the IDSA for Lyme which is why they get in big trouble if they prescribe long-term antibiotics for Lyme.  (Hopefully Elizabeth May's Bill C-442 will change this.)  IDSA guidelines state that Lyme is hard to catch, easy to treat, and 3 weeks of antibiotics is enough to kill all of the Lyme bacteria.  From my personal experience and the experience of thousands of others, these guidelines are FLAWED.  If you want to understand more about the politics behind all of this, do watch Under Our Skin, an award-winning documentary about Lyme disease.
But I digress......
To learn more about the new ILADS guidelines, and to read them for yourself, click here.
To check out another set of guidelines, created by LLMD Dr. Marty Ross from Seattle, check out his website Treat Lyme and Associated Diseases.  *Dr. Ross is now asking for an inexpensive subscription ($20/year) to access the full contents of his website and treatment manual.  He is trying to recoup the cost of running the site.  It is a very valuable resource and has been so helpful to me.  He also holds free webinars a few times a month that you can sign up for.  He's a fantastic doctor.
If you're interested in knowing what my own treatment journey was, check out this blog post.
The key to getting well is to
1) Obey your physician and follow all of his/her advice carefully. 
2) Persevere; things will improve over time.
All the best to you on your journey.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Another year down!

Wow, I let the summer go by without "celebrating" my Lyme anniversary.  How could I forget about that?  I started treatment on June 1, 2011.  It is now September 6, 2014.  According to my Lyme ticker on the left, I have been in treatment for 3 years, 3 months, and 5 days. 

I'm not really in active treatment right now.  Based on my symptoms, I really do feel that I'm in remission.  However, I do still take 100 mg of minocycline daily for "insurance".  I don't want to relapse AGAIN!  Even in remission, I've never felt 100%.  I hover around 85-90% most of the time in recent months.  But I'll take it!!!  I still get tired (could be from the minocycline), and I am stiff, sore, and achy (could be from some other meds I'm on), but once I get moving I'm OK.

So it was back to school for me a week ago, not as a student but as a teacher.  I've felt good enough to increase my workload a bit this year, so hopefully I won't have any regrets about that as the year progresses.  I do have to be more vigilant about doing everything I can to maintain my health:  eat well, sleep enough, and get exercise. 

Sadly, here is my report card for these this summer:




Eating well


Just too much summer indulging, eating out while on vacation, ice cream treats for the kids (and therefore me), visits to Starbucks, and the list goes on!

Sleeping enough


Well what can I say, it was my summer holidays.  Bonus marks here!



Did I mention that I hate exercise?

I think I've fallen into these bad habits because I'm quite thrilled to be a NORMAL person these days, and not a SICK person, you know?  But I do realize that moderation is the key, and I can still have my cake and eat it too if I plan more wisely and don't overindulge, as well as take the time to bake "legal" treats for myself that are low in sugar and carbs.  It can be done!

If you're trying to get well from Lyme, please DO NOT follow my awful example.  Give your body a fighting chance! 

Today is a new start!  I'm planning to follow a low-carb detox diet for the next 10 days to get myself prepped for losing weight in the coming months, and I'm planning to do some form of exercise every other day.  Perhaps I'll give you my next report card on January 1!

Here are some snapshots of things we enjoyed this summer.

Visited beautiful Niagara Falls

Spent an afternoon in picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake

Visited our Parliament Buildings in Ottawa

Got lost in Gatineau Park looking for Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King's summer cottage

Pretended to be a teacher in a one-room school house at the
Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa
Completely blew my diet with a bowl of poutine in Québec!
If you're reading this and don't know what poutine is, it is French fries with cheese curds smothered in gravy - a Québécois creation that can now be found on menus outside of Québec.
Said goodbye to a truly beautiful, historical city. 
So proud to be Canadian!

Friday, August 08, 2014

Information Galore!

This is a quick post to provide you with a link to all sorts of reliable information about Lyme disease.  It is a page from lymedisease.org, an organization based in California.  Check it out.

questions & answers

Thursday, August 07, 2014

What if your child gets a tick bite?

There is no question that Lyme is spreading here in Canada.  Prior to discovering the cause of my illness in 2011, I had rarely heard of Lyme disease.  This past year, however, a young member of my family has begun a battle with chronic Lyme, not unlike my own battle.  Then, the daughter of a friend developed a bulls-eye rash.  Another little girl I know had a tick bite in her hair.  And I recently learned that the relative of a fellow Lyme patient in town has had a tick bite.  I also know a few people with unexplained illnesses and I wonder about whether they might have chronic Lyme and not realize it. 

The ticks are here to stay, but so are we.  Therefore, we need to learn how to protect ourselves from bites in the first place, and if we are bitten, what we should expect in the way of treatment.

Avoid Getting Bitten

The best defence is to learn how to protect yourself and your children.  Learn how to minimize the risk while outdoors, and how to do a tick check on your body.  Click here for details.

Remove a Tick Properly

Ticks must be removed carefully to avoid transference of bacteria to your body.  You may want to head to the doctor or ER to have it removed, but you can also do it yourself to take care of the situation more quickly.  The longer the tick remains in you, the greater the likelihood of infection.

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES pull the tick out with your fingers, pick at it, squeeze it, apply butter or oils to it, or burn it!!!  This is very dangerous because when a tick is agitated, it can regurgitate its stomach contents into the host.....YOU!  You want to ensure that the tick is removed in the safest way possible, with the head intact, so that bacteria does not enter your body.

1) You can use fine-tipped tweezers to remove it by grasping it as close to the skin as possible and pulling upward very gently.
2) A superior method is the Straw and Knot Method developed by Canadian physician Dr. Ernie Murakami.  Check out the method in this video.  (Advance to 2:05.)  (Note: The first method shown on the video would only be performed by a doctor.)

Save the tick in a jar or plastic bag and send it to the IgeneX Lab for testing.

Get Adequate Treatment

For a simple bite, some local Canadian doctors might prescribe 2-3 weeks of antibiotics, although there seems to be no standard from doctor to doctor.  Some Canadian doctors might administer antibiotics immediately, while others might tell you to wait and see if symptoms develop.  Others may want to send the tick off to a lab for testing or give you a Lyme test first.

Please be aware that any delay in treatment can be dangerous and can give the bacteria (if present) the opportunity to gain a foothold in your body, the repercussions of which can be devastating.

My American Lyme doctor would prescribe 3 weeks of antibiotics immediately for a tick bite even in the absence of any symptoms.  If symptoms have developed, such as a rash, then my LLMD would prescribe 6 weeks of antibiotics.  He would not "wait and see", or withhold treatment to wait for test results.  (Besides, testing for Lyme right after a bite is useless as the body has not had enough time to develop antibodies.)

As a parent, please do your research by checking out reliable organizations such as CanLyme, ILADS, or Treat Lyme and Associated Diseases.  If your child is bitten by a tick and has no other symptoms, ask for (or dare I say "beg", "plead", "demand") 3 full weeks of antibiotics automatically.  It is not worth the risk of the infection spreading to other organs to wait for a Lyme test or to send the tick off to the lab.  If early symptoms are present (rash, flu-like), then ask for an additional round for a total of 6 weeks.  Your Canadian doctor may be willing to do this much for you (though some may not).

If, however, your child has been sick with something mysterious for a long time and you can't figure out why despite several visits to specialists, then have him/her tested for Lyme by the IgeneX lab in California.  Then, find a Lyme-literate doctor in the U.S. who can determine if he/she might have chronic Lyme disease and treat him/her until symptoms are resolved (which may require longer term antibiotic treatment which is not yet permissible in Canada).  Many Lyme patients do not remember a tick bite or get a rash, and the development of symptoms can be delayed by months or years.  This was the case for me.

If your child has been treated in Canada for acute (early) Lyme and received one or two rounds of antibiotics, keep an eye on him/her for the next few weeks, months, even years.  If symptoms are returning, or if new symptoms are appearing, then it could be that the treatment was not long enough to eradicate the bacteria OR that your child has a co-infection in addition to the Lyme bacteria.  Ticks can pass on a whole host of bacteria which cause illnesses such as babesia and bartonella.  These co-infections require very specific antibiotics.  You will need the help of an experienced Lyme-literate doctor in the U.S.

Most Canadian doctors have not been taught the specifics of Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment, and are certainly not equipped to recognize and diagnose chronic Lyme disease and the myriad of symptoms it produces once it goes beyond the acute stage.  Lyme is the "great imitator" and can mimic many other illnesses, sending the patient on a wild goose chase from specialist to specialist.  Infectious disease doctors seem to be very set in their ways with regard to Lyme.  Check out my Lyme friend's recent experience here and you might have a better understanding about what a visit to a specialist may be like.

Additional Information

Here is an excellent report on ABC News entitled Beyond the Headlines: Lyme Disease.  Several victims are featured, and they shed a lot of light on what it is like to have Lyme, and how one must navigate through the medical system on one's own to find the help necessary.  Click the link below.

Enjoy your summer, but remember to protect yourself and your children!

Disclaimer:  This post is for informational purposes only and is based on my personal opinion and personal experience.  Consult a physician for diagnosis and treatment options.  I urge you to do your own research, be an informed patient, and be involved in decisions regarding your treatment.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Where can you purchase supplements for Lyme?

All Lyme patients know that supplements are regularly prescribed to help in the healing process. Prior to contracting Lyme, I rarely took supplements.  Once in a while, I would buy a container of multivitamins, and I would take vitamin C or echinacea if I felt a cold coming on.  But that's about it. Now, it's a whole different story.  I'm well acquainted with the alphabet.....you know, vitamins A, B, C, D, and E.  I take some supplements to help with inflammation.  I take the "brain supplement", Omega 3.  I take supplements to boost my immune system.  I need high-dose iron because my ferritin gets too low without it.  I feel like a walking pharmacy!  Supplements are without a doubt the most expensive part of my Lyme disease treatment.....even more than the antibiotics and LLMD appointments!  Crazy!

Some supplements I purchase at the drug store, but not too many.  Most doctors recommend pharmaceutical grade supplements.  What does that mean?  I'm no expert, but my understanding is that supplements vary in their quality.  Cheaper versions may have more fillers and less of the actual "ingredient". I do buy my vitamin C (Ester-C) and iron at Costco because the price is really good.  For the others, I go to the health food store.  Then, there are some supplements that I purchase online through LLMD Dr. Marty Ross' website at www.treatlyme.org.

Dr. Ross has a great online store and he explains exactly how he uses all of the supplements in his videos which are on the website.  He discounts the products as much as he can according to the agreement with the supplier which he must adhere to.  I have found the online store to be reliable, except for one time when it took a whole month for my product to arrive.  I only paid for regular shipping, not expedited shipping. Usually that's not a problem, and the item arrives in about 2-3 weeks.  This particular time, it took so long I thought that the package had gotten lost.  I traced the package and learned that items shipped from the online store go from his office in Seattle WA, to Los Angeles for sorting, then back up to Ontario, Canada where I'm from.  That's one long trip!  I think in the future, I will pay for the faster shipping method.

I found out last week that naturopath Dr. Angela Lee from Richmond Hill, Ontario has created a Canadian online store of her own.  The number of products she offers is not as extensive as Dr. Ross' site, but if you can find what you need there, it would be more convenient and faster.  The online store is at this address:  http://lymeessentialscanada.ca/pages/about-us.

Before I sign off, I just wanted to give a thumbs up to a great iron supplement.  I've been using this product for 3 years now, and I must say that it performs exactly like it claims, for me anyway.  No stomach upset, no constipation.  No adverse side-effects at all.  It is called FeraMax and is available at your local pharmacy.  I buy mine in a bottle of 100 at Costco as it's much cheaper that way.  Please note:  I have no affiliation with this company at all.  I just wanted to share with you a great product that has worked for me.  If you have reduced iron stores, do check with your physician first before taking this product.  Also, consult your pharmacist to be sure that there are no drug interactions (which is often the case with iron).

Sunday, June 01, 2014

It's June! Who hooooooo!

Nothing makes me happier than June.  Well, July and August are pretty good too, but there's just something about June that allows me to finally exhale and begin the process of relaxation.  OK, so I can't really relax for another couple of weeks, after my report cards are submitted, but there is this out-of-the-ordinary calmness in me knowing that my job is winding down for the year.

Here is a picture of what was on the agenda today.

It's planting season, and these beauties will soon be making their way into pots to adorn our abode. I'm also looking forward to planting and using more herbs this year - chives, dill, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, and mint.

It was a rough winter, not only in terms of the horrible bitter cold we endured, but also with my health. I'm therefore quite glad to bid it farewell.  I dealt with a Lyme relapse in January, got back on antibiotics in March, and have been trying to get some symptoms under control.  I'm so happy to report that I think I've finally turned the corner!  I actually feel half-decent!  I'm certainly not 100%, but I don't know if I'll ever achieve that again.  Today I feel about 80-90%.  It might be different tomorrow.  Each morning is like a box of chocolates that way.....to quote Forrest Gump.  "You never know what you're gonna get."

For a few weeks I've been battling terrible tiredness.  I wouldn't call it fatigue, just tiredness.  I suspect that it is medication induced.  I'm currently taking minocycline and the pharmacist said it can be sedating.  Perhaps in a few months I'll be able to reduce the dosage and I'll perk up a bit.

Of course I still have so many questions:  How long should I stay on the antibiotics?  Will I ever get off them?  Will I always relapse?  Will I ever lose this weight I've gained since my illness started?  Will I ever feel "not tired"?  Will I be able to handle my job next year?  Will this crazy Lyme situation ever get sorted out in the Canadian medical system?

There are too many unanswerable questions, so the only alternative to driving oneself crazy is to wake up in the morning and appreciate each day for what it is.  Live one day at a time.  Practice gratitude. Thank God for the blessings in your life and even the hard times, for it is in those hard times that He teaches us so much and develops our character.

I hope, despite how you feel, that you can find one (or 10!) things to be thankful for today.  I wish you all a beautiful summer.

Blessed Be Your Name
Robin Mark

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Following a Lyme diet

I confess.....I have an addiction.....to books about food!  I love food.  I love good, tasty food.  I love to make good tasty food.  I also have Lyme disease, which means that I have to make some radical changes in the food I make and eat.....and I hope that eventually I will learn to truly love this new way of eating. 

First off, take a look at a few of the books I've been reading or re-reading in the past little while.

The information contained therein is enough to make anyone's head spin.  Eat this, don't eat that, avoid this at all cost, buy organic, eat after exercise, eliminate wheat, eliminate grains, eat no sugar, honey is OK..........Ahhhhhhhhhh!

I won't go so far as to say that the messages contained in the books are contradictory, but some of the eating regimens go a step (or three) further in food restrictions.  I suppose it is really a matter of trial and error to see what regimen works best for each individual.

So let's talk about what these books have in common:

1. Get rid of sugar.  Some authors say to eliminate it in all forms, while others allow maple syrup and honey in baking, for example.  Sugar is just plain BAD for you.  It causes your insulin to spike, causes fat storage, and inflammation. 

2. Ditch the wheat.  Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis gives many compelling reasons for eliminating this everyday grain from your diet.  It has been genetically modified to the extent that it is wreaking havoc in our bodies.  It also causes your insulin to spike, as much or more than sugar, causes fat storage, and inflammation.

Some authors go so far as to say eliminate ALL grains, while others would allow brown rice and quinoa for example.  I'm not sure how well I'd survive with no grains whatsoever.

3. Say adios to corn.  Again, very genetically modified and no longer good for us.

4. Eat lots of non-starchy vegetables and a bit of fruit.  Vegetables should be our main source of carbohydrates rather than grains.  Fruit should be eaten in limited amounts because of its sugar content.

5. Avoid toxins.  Buying organic, whenever possible, is best.  Check online for which fruits and vegetables are worst....the so-called "dirty dozen".  And get rid of toxic cleaning chemicals in your home and ones you put into your body in the form of lotions and other beauty products.  Switch to natural products.  Check out Jaydancin for wonderful, natural beauty products.  They are my absolute favorite.

6. Drink plenty of filtered water.  Adding some lemon to the water will help your body to flush out toxins. 

OK, so where do I go from here?  These are great principles for anyone to incorporate into their meal plans, but seeing that I suffer from a chronic illness involving inflammation, I feel I need to bump this up a notch.  I really like The Hormone Diet by Toronto naturopath Natasha Turner.  I feel that her 2 week detox plan is do-able, and her glyci-med approach to eating after that is sustainable. 

I considered doing Dr. Singleton's Lyme Inflammation Diet (found in the book Recipes for Repair by Gail Piazza and Laura Piazza), but I'm not sure if I can abide by its restrictions for so many months.  If I feel that my body has not improved in its inflammation symptoms after eating well for a few months, then I'll have this one to fall back on.

So here's my plan:
1. Do Dr. Turner's hormone diet detox for 2 weeks
2. Try to follow Dr. Turner's glyci-med approach thereafter OR at minimum keep my eating sugar-free and wheat-free

One of the hardest things is finding replacements for all of those foods that we normally eat that contain grain.  Even though I may be giving up wheat, I still want to be able to grab a muffin or slice of homemade quick bread.  I have found that there are tons of recipes online for things like pancakes, breads, and pizza crust, so I encourage you to just take a few hours and print some out.  Danielle Walker's grain-free cookbook, Against All Grain, is excellent.  Her website is www.againstallgrain.com.

Here are links to all of the books in my photo.  They are ALL excellent and will put you on the road to better health.

Recipes for Repair by Gail Piazza and Laura Piazza
The Hormone Diet by Natasha Turner, ND
Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD
Maximized Living Nutrition Plans by B.J. Hardick, Kimberly Roberto, and Ben Lerner
Joyous Health by Joy McCarthy
The Skinny on Losing Weight Without Being Hungry by Louis J. Aronne, MD
Against All Grain by Danielle Walker

Wishing you all success in your resolutions to eat healthier!  Bon appétit!