Sunday, 10 December 2017

The sweetest word: Hope

This post is dedicated to Michelle D. Thank you for giving us hope. 

I click on the website and start reading. At this point, I have done this dozens of times, and I would be lying if I said I have much hope that this will be a solid lead. Probably just another dead end.
I skim the list of symptoms: bone pain, joint pain and swelling, tennis elbow, stiff neck, muscle pain. My eyes widen, and I start to read more slowly. All of these apply!
The list continues: night sweats, unexplained chills, chronic fatigue, shortness of breath.
Then there are mood swings, unusual depression, insomnia, sleep apnea, memory loss.
And the clinchers: "pain migrates to different body parts", "continual infections (i.e. sinus)", "increased effect from alcohol and possible worse hangover". Check, check and CHECK!

My heart is beating fast now. This is it! This must be it! Rich has every single one of these symptoms!
The disease?

Lyme Disease. 

Lyme disease is an inflammatory disorder that is spread to humans through tick bites. Ticks pick up the bacteria through infected animals like deer, mice, or birds, and pass it on to whoever is unfortunate enough to be bitten next.
Lyme disease is sneaky.
It is dubbed "the mystery disease" by some due to the difficulty to diagnose it. There are more than 100 symptoms associated with Lyme disease, which may or may not show up immediately. In many cases, patients won't have any symptoms for months or even years. If you are bitten by a nymph tick you may never know it; they are the size of this period →.

Some people get the telltale bulls-eye rash, but many people don't. Blood tests often come back with false negatives, particularly in the early stages of the disease. The test is looking for antibodies in the blood, and they need time to develop.
To make matters even worse, there is no universally accepted test for Lyme disease; apparently, Lyme tests in Canada are largely flawed (source).

How did we come up with Lyme disease  as a possible diagnosis for Rich's mystery illness?
One of my readers told me! Michelle D. mentioned it in a comment on a recent blog post, and for that I am extremely grateful. She herself wasn't correctly diagnosed for over a year, despite seeing numerous doctors and specialists.

After she told me I immediately booked an appointment with our doctor, who listened and agreed with us. We have now done the blood test and await the results, which will take another week or two. Despite not knowing if that's Richard's diagnosis, we feel hopeful for the first time in months, and that is a precious, precious gift. Chronic pain is horrific, but not knowing what causes it is almost too much to bear.

I will keep you updated with developments, but in the meantime, here are some of the websites I have found useful in regards to information about Lyme disease:
Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Knowing that you are not alone is also a huge relief. Here are some lists of celebs who have Lyme disease:
19 celebrities who have struggled with Lyme Disease
Famous people living with Lyme Disease

Michelle, thank you again from the bottom of my heart for reaching out! It means more than you'll ever know. ❤

xoxo Miriam


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

A letter to my 38-year-old self

Dear 38-year old Miriam, 

it's your birthday today. You've been 38 for about 18 hours, which means you have roughly 8,742 hours left of your time as a 38-year old.
That's lots of time. Don't panic. 
Seriously. Stop with the panicking!

Okay. Deep breaths all around. Feel better now? Good. 

Let's reflect on the last 38 years for a moment, okay? Just for shits and giggles. 
I know you sometimes feel like you haven't accomplished that much yet. 
Let's recap, shall we?


Monday, 4 December 2017

Snow and dogs - the best cure for diarrhea

It's been a while since I shared a few photos from around here! We had a massive snow dump at the beginning of November, which seemed way too early for everyone involved. Luckily, it melted after 10 days, and the next snow waited respectfully until December to arrive. It's been positively magical!
The dogs and I have been hiking every day lately, and their exuberance is infectious. 
You all know my boundless love for dogs, and reason #847 for it is their ability to enjoy life to tremendously. They are an example to all of us!
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