We’ve all heard the saying “Some of the best things in life are free.” But it’s also true that “Some of the best things that can save your life are free.”
A lot of you know that Lyme can be extremely expensive, with visits to medical practitioners, antibiotics, supplements and tons of other costs in most cases.
And you have to spend the money. Lyme can steal you everything you have, including your life.
But there is some good news. I’ve found there are many intangible factors involved in fighting Lyme, and I believe scoring high on these intangibles can make a big difference between getting well and not getting well.
Best yet, these things don’t cost a cent. So what exactly am I talking about? Keep reading and you’ll find out.
GROWING YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE
I’m one of many people with Lyme who’ve been very sick and have lost big things like marriages and careers. There is a temptation to be angry at God.
After all, if you believe in God, you most likely believe He could have prevented you from suffering.
I was mad at God. But I believe I’ve worked through that, finally accepting that His ways are beyond my understanding. What I’ve been through happened for a reason. I don’t know what the reason is, but I’m okay with that now.
It also dawned on me that it makes no sense to cut myself off from the one Being who can most help me. I believe I’ve received great healing through prayer, and I’ve read studies that show prayer carries health benefits with it. Other studies show that actively practicing a faith leads to a longer, healthier life.
I know from personal experience that when you are dreadfully ill with Lyme, it’s hard to think much about anyone but yourself. This is understandable, but it’s a dangerous approach.
Part of the problem with Lyme is that most people don’t know how bad it can be. Often people with Lyme are sicker than people with cancer, but friends and family don’t realize that. In most cases, everyone rallies around a cancer patient. Often this isn’t the case with Lyme.
I wish I’d understood this a long while ago. I wish I had found a way not to be self-absorbed when I got really sick. I wish I had realized that the best way to receive the love I needed to get well was to give love and put others first, even though I knew I had a life-threatening illness. If I could have managed all these things, I might still be married.
It seems to me that in many and perhaps most instances, it’s the person with Lyme who has to reach out to family and friends and keep relationships in good condition. Doing this isn’t easy when you have zero or little energy, but if you can do it, it’s more than worth the effort.
EXERCISE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
I’ve found that Lyme is a physical battle. The stronger you are physically, the better chance you have of beating the disease. One of the most respected Lyme physicians in the world, Dr. Joseph Burrascano, recommends patients start a serious physical fitness plan.
Of course, many people with Lyme aren’t able to do that. When I was bedridden, I tried to do a bit of light stretching whenever I could. Then when I got a bit better, I tried walking a bit. Then I could walk a bit more, and then eventually I could do more and more exercise.
I said these things cost nothing. Well, exercise can be costly if you go to the gym, but it can also be free. Walking can be the Lyme patient’s best friend. And I’ve found that I can get a lot of benefit from body weight exercises like push-ups. To find out more, Google body weight exercises, and you should be able to find dozens of them online.
There is nothing funny about Lyme, but keeping your sense of humor is very helpful in overcoming the disease. We all know the cliche about laughter being the best medicine, and while studies don’t actually list it as the No. 1 med, they do show a clear benefit.
I’m a laugh junkie. The only things I watch on TV are comedy shows and sports. There is a ton of funny stuff on YouTube, and you can download comedy programs from iTunes and other web sources. One particularly useful site is the Internet Archive, which is at http://www.archive.org.
MEDITATION AND DEEP BREATHING
Much of the Lyme battle is about staying calm and reducing stress. Recent research tells us one of the Lyme bacteria’s primary survival strategies is to overstimulate the immune system and throw it out of balance.
Meditation and deep breathing help me stay in balance. I do a 20-minute meditation daily, along with three sets of three deep breaths. I try to keep it simple to make it easy to do every day.
With the meditation, I focus on a few key words, and for the deep breathing, I just take deep breaths, preferably outside in the fresh air. There are plenty of techniques for both practices that you can find on the web, and it can be either very simple or more complex. Many experts swear by specific breathing techniques, but I find benefit from simply taking the deep breaths and not worrying about how I’m doing it.
Music, as everyone knows, can either pump you up or chill you out. Both approaches can be valuable to someone with Lyme.
I find listening to classical music a fantastic way to shift my body out of the sympathetic nervous system fight or flight mode to the parasympathetic relaxation mode. But there are times when various other forms of music bring me joy as well as a much-needed emotional lift.
Getting outdoors and taking care not to get further tick bites I should say. Air quality experts say outdoor air is far cleaner than indoor air, so I follow their advice and get outside as much as possible.
The beach is my favorite destination. I have allergies and the breeze off the water literally blows a lot of allergens away. If I had an ocean nearby, I’d go there too because there’s no doubt that I feel best when I spend a lot of time by the water.
When I’m indoors, I’m a fresh air fiend as well. Not only does the oxygen you get by opening windows help in the fight against the bugs, it also cuts down the levels of allergens in your living space, as long as it’s not an allergy season for you.
Photo: Eric Davidson