The Road to Hell is Paved with Cottage Cheese

For anyone who is following my posts, I haven’t mentioned what I eat… or more so, what I don’t eat.  I have been following a healing diet quite well for a while now.  Next month will be my two year anniversary of eating the way of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (informational links at the bottom).  It has saved me from many of my own nasty, buggy little symptoms.  Itchy areas of skin without rash or hives, full body itching, swollen upper and lower eyelids, dark purple circle under the eyes.  Intense pain with the lightest contact.  The kind of light touch that is just getting grazed by something feels like a punch that’ll knock the wind out of ya.

AIP has been good to me, there has been some healing just from what I choose to eat.

For example, I do not eat nightshades therefore no white potatoes, no eggplant, no peppers of any kind, no tomatoes.  If I eat a nightshade, my tummy is fine and you would think all is well.  Until the next day — I wake up with two ultra puffy eyelids and significantly purple bags under the eyes — not in a vain way, more in an obvious “Holy sh!t, who punched you in the face?!” way.

For the past week and a half, something with me has been “off.”  The anxiety is back and I am worrying once again about things I know better will be JUST FINE but I can’t help myself.  The worry takes over.  It is far beyond a mind over matter issue; it must be acknowledged that this is intellectually out of my control.  My mental state is merely a manifestation of what is happening invisibly, physically.

There is research going on now to study that much of the human mental states, whether you call it mental health or mental illness, are biologically based.  When I remember my resources on this topic, I will share them with y’all — they just aren’t on the tip of my tongue right now.  I know for myself that my mental state is very much a manifestation of what’s going on biologically for me.  I don’t know if that makes any sense to you, but it makes a lot of sense to me based on my own experience.  

I don’t know what is going on with me right now, but something is off.  So I did something new, I went off the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) wagon.  I have been eating Paleo foods and some SAD (Standard American Diet) foods for the past few days.  I know perfectly well they cause me physical inflammation and flares, even the gluten free and Paleo food items.  But they I ate, and here I am, itching relentlessly as I type.

I kind of want to kick myself for not having the willpower to avoid those foods.  But this is not about willpower, this all about anger.

Today marked the end of it.  A bite of two different foods most people take for granted made my stomach tighten up and hurt like the dickens within half an hour.  It wasn’t enough that this morning I already woke up with stiff, achy joints and barely able to stand up from the bed on my own — a shadowed reminder of what daily life with untreated Lyme used to look like in my bedroom every morning.  Today’s aches and pains are without a doubt caused by all the non-AIP foods I have been eating.  Cumulatively, my body can’t handle that many attacks at once.  My immune system is barely online and I am fully responsible for this attack.  This is the way it works with leaky gut.  The wrong foods down the gullet cause the immune system to attack its own body.  Even the brain experiences inflammation and affects thinking, clarity, processing.

And I am lost.  All I can do is stare blindly at the things I need to get done.  Even the daily routine things.  I’m frozen like a possum playing dead, waiting for this invisible storm to pass.

Even though I’ve been doing this for a week and a half, it wasn’t enough — I had to eat 3 spoonfuls of cottage cheese and some gluten free crackers with butter.  Today.  Now my head is in a vice — a migraine with horrible fatigue started setting in within 30 minutes of eating that taken-for-granted, crap-for-my-body-but-you-go-right-ahead-and-have-at-it food stuffs.

It ain’t easy going AIP but it’s much harder not following the protocol.  Today is the last day of my emotional eating BS because I can’t handle the itching anymore.  I might go crazy from the itching alone.

More than anything, I want to hug myself because I need love and kindness to be able to gather my mental resources, beat my biology and take in a deep breath and climb back up on that wagon.  Self-love doesn’t come easily for most of us.

I finally figured it out and fessed up to my own BS as to why I’m eating this way.  It’s not an issue of temptation or willpower.  It’s straight up anger.  Anger is driving me to nibbles, bites and chomps of cottage cheese, caramel, gluten free products made with rice flour, and milk chocolate.  Two weeks ago, I had a follow up appointment with blood work results with my doc.  There was good news and bad news.  The bad news was that the old bad news from 6 months ago hasn’t gotten any better and has in fact gotten worse.  I feel helpless and flat out pissed off that none of the amazing and powerful diet changes I’ve made have helped this trouble spot.  I should be celebrating what IS working, no matter how small, but I’m stuck on the bad news.  It’s a head fuck — media tells you that food is the way to alter blood sugar and insulin levels.  I have been pre-diabetic for quite some time thanks to chronic inflammation, and it’s recently been getting worse.  I am on the cusp of being diabetic even though my AIP diet is TIGHT on these issues.  So my supplements have been changed to help my body process sugars better and my doc is having me eat a ketogenic diet until my insulin resistance goes down.

My response to that was to head swiftly in the opposite direction.  Instead of starting a ketogenic diet — which would be small eliminations from my current AIP diet — I decided to eat all.the.things.

Eating the way I normally do (AIP) really has removed a lot of factors in the blood sugar mystery.  Now the doc and I know that my insulin resistance is high due to stress.  Body stress.  The stress my body is under from having to deal with several chronic infections.  There is nothing else I can do to control this.  My body is doing everything it can to fight Lyme & Co., and I can’t ask it to do more.  I must be patient.  Healing takes time.  Things I know and preach but don’t ask me to believe it today.

Stress internalized looks like blood cells that don’t know what to do with new sugars in the bloodstream.  Confused and on lock down.  So I stress out from the inside out, not from external pressures upon me.  It’s my body, dammit.  This big mystery on the inside is a hot mess, screaming that it’s stressed out and I’m on the outside, with no way to help or soothe this overtired, sick body.  Stress.  Insulin resistance that keeps going up.  “This way to Diabetes.”

AIP has been a way to stop aggravating my already worn out, under attack body.  AIP truly is a healing diet and lifestyle.  So here we go, back on the wagon — there might be a bit of anger stuffed away in my back pocket to be rediscovered on the journey, but most of that straight up anger at my own body was left behind in the cottage cheese container and all the other inflammatory foods I tossed in the garbage.

Here are two of my favorite AIP resources:                                                                                                 Jessica Flanigan, Clinical Nutritionist and  Sarah Ballantyne, PhD




The Road to Hell is Paved with Cottage Cheese

Spring Cleaning


Ah, Spring Cleaning.  The work, the deep clean… the results.  I don’t do a deep clean specifically every Spring, but this year my 5 year old seems keen on the idea.  If he’s into it, I’m into it.  Did I ever tell you about my fiasco of an experience hiring a company to clean my house last year?  I am definitely open to deep cleaning my own house, just not by a cleaning company ever again!  Since my energy levels are much better after starting to heal through BVT (Bee Venom Therapy), it’s tempting to jump the gun and do too much at once.  Must. Control. Myself.

The sun is shining today, it’s exceptionally warm for what is still Winter in Wisconsin.  My God, the tulips that don’t normally bloom until mid to late May are already poking up an inch above the ground!  The signs of Spring are here, loud and clear.

That brings me to the seasonal task of spring cleaning.

I have an awful habit of satisfying my urge to deep clean not by tidying communal rooms like the living room or bathroom, but by emptying out dresser drawers and kitchen cabinets.  I have no idea why I go deep and start over in places with doors, the places that can easily be hidden away.  But I do.  Maybe it’s a spiritual parallel — I may look like a hot mess with bed head, no makeup, clothes that don’t match on a color wheel from Mars…  but my insides are constantly being worked on, and deep work.

Welcome to my deepest, darkest drawer…  my medicine cabinet.bento box3

It’s really a bento box with these cool little modular compartments that pop out to attention when asked, and tuck away neatly when coaxed.  So sweet.  I keep my meds in here.  This box measures  approximately 6″ x 11″.  For the sake of disclosure, this is not my main box of medications and supplements; this is one of two boxes of EXTRA meds.

Since my list of daily supplements and meds has shifted since meeting with my doc a few days ago, it was time to revamp the box.

I dumped out every bottle I had — lord is it overwhelming.  I delicately wiped the inner fabric clean of all dust, random bits of my kiddo’s glitter and one kitty’s shedded claw (how, HOW did that get in there?!)  I wiped with love, because this box is sacred.  These supplements are building me up.  Building up a body that has been nibbled and picked at for too long by a rough combination of viral, fungal, parasitic and multiple bacterial infections.  MY CELLS CALLED AND WANT THEIR MICRONUTRIENTS BACK, OKAY LYME, GOT IT?! *slams the phone down*

bento box1Here is the big box.

It measures 12″ x 12″ — my main box of meds and supplements I take every day.  When I was first diagnosed with Lyme Disease, I took almost twice as many different items to build up my depletions, and this box could not contain them all.  Now there is a little wiggle room between these bottles.  Every half inch of space is a little sigh of relief from me.  Who would have ever thought that my big Spring milestone would be being able to shake, shake, shake those bottles around in the box!

THIS was my Spring Cleaning.

It doesn’t have to be much, but the deep cleaning is always worth it.

Wishing you sunshine and bird songs in your lives, my friends —  and the sweet release of deep cleaning even the smallest thing.



Spring Cleaning

Letting Go

Early on in my Bee Venom Therapy journey, perhaps because of how peacefully I entered into this treatment, letting go has fallen into my lap and is sitting there like a cute kitty (“cute” + “kitty” = redundant, warm and fluffy) curled up and waiting for lots of pets.  But that’s not how it started.

      Pet the kitty

Living with Lyme Disease is complicated.  The longer the spirochetes are living in a person’s system, the wider the range of possibilities as to where they will reside and which body systems they will royally fuck up for the kind host who gives much more than a blood meal.  I have given these buggers a 5’6″ cellular buffet for 21 years.  Most Lyme patients are told indirectly and explicitly that their aches and pains and whatever seems “off” is just in their heads, that all tests are normal and they have nothing wrong with them other than needing a psych consult. After what feels like a long drawn out wild goose chase searching for a diagnosis, Lymies are fed up, tired from the chase, and wounded from medical professionals dismissing and not believing them.  So us Lymies, we search.  We search for answers.  We search for a diagnosis from our home computers.  We search for anyone out there like us. Every ache, pain, and body change is noted.  We pay attention to the details in hopes of finding the missing link that will help our doctors help us.  How hard it is to let go of a confounding type of pain and suffering.

Enter Bee Venom Therapy (BVT).  It has helped me let go of the details.  This is not how I started out with BVT, but I wised up quickly.  In the beginning of this treatment as with every Lyme treatment I have tried to date, I wanted to know everything about it.  As if somehow the knowledge would make the bee medicine work better??!? Crazy me!

Thankfully, I can’t.  I can’t know it all, I can’t study every aspect of the bee venom.  I can’t learn how it acts on the body on a microscopic level.  As much as I want to know, the information simply is not available.  So instead of researching the healing properties of mellitin, instead of studying which enzymes and peptides are viable in live honey bee venom but not in the injectable format, instead of looking for studies on what the peptides and enzymes do within the human body, I am letting go.

This is not a meditative practice or a type of high road that ought to be taken.  I’m here to tell you that letting go is possible. More than just a pipe dream or mind over matter. It has already happened early on for me with BVT treatment and plan to keep this peaceful momentum going.

Letting go means I:

  • continue with the BVT Lyme Protocol and observe the changes
  • continue to hope for and watch for signs of healing
  • lessen my urges to break it down into explanations of medical cause and effect
  • wait a few days before officially freaking out when something unexpected happens after stinging
  • be patient with the process

My best healing moments, days and weeks with BVT are when I let go of my body sensations and body changes due to stinging, and just roll with it.  Because the bees are taking care of it for me, I give it all up to Mother Nature.  SheLetting Go wins every time.

Letting go has been the most powerful piece of BVT for me.

Let Go of all your previous notions and Observe. Give your body time to get used to the Bee Medicine and simply Observe the interesting things it does.  I am glad that I don’t know, and can’t know, exactly how the bee venom works.

Letting Go

30 Days of Bee Venom Therapy

BVT stings running the length of the spine along both sides
This is what the first 30 days of BVT Lyme Protocol looks like —  the start of an abacus.

After one month of Bee Venom Therapy using Amber Rose’s Lyme Protocol, it is time to reflect on the process of BVT and how it is affecting me.  No deep thoughts here, no extended time needed to sort through my thoughts.  It’s easy to see my progress after the first thirty days.  I feel it, I know it — it is much more than hopefulness.  Change has arrived.

My three worst constant symptoms have lifted every so slightly, and the effect is cumulative: Fatigue, Insomnia, and Digestive Issues (constipation due to chronic inflammation)
Even better, I am spontaneously humming, singing and laughing from time to time. I truly did not realize how dark my world has been, until I started laughing again at moments in my daily life.

This humming, singing and laughter is a huge “tell” that my health is returning.  Just being able to enjoy life was, I guess you could say, physically impossible for a while. Physically impossible for a few years. Humour is healing, but you can’t force it — believe me, I have tried  using laughter to improve my mood and lessen pain but to no avail.  Being joyless is living in a sickly state, the doldrums being a result of the illness (i.e. Lyme Disease and its co-infections) sapping my life force away from me.  Even though I had myself convinced that my dulled and joyless existence was my own fault and my own doing, it really is not, and was not, a mind over matter thing. There is a gut-brain connection that is weighted much more in biology than it is in free will.  The gut is sometimes referred to as the “second brain” because that is where most of the body’s immunity and neurotransmitters are made.  The bee venom has improved my health, and seeing this lifting of both my mind and my emotions, I know that the medicine of the honey bees must be healing my gut.

The first thirty days of BVT take the patient on a learning curve of understanding and being able to follow the Lyme Protocol as it is designed; in getting used to the concept of having insects sting you when you were taught as a child to fear them intensely; in figuring out how to sting yourself.  In figuring out how to make peace with the death of these tiny creatures in exchange for getting your life back.  In wondering if you’ll survive the itching phase.  Wondering if you can keep up with the commitment, stinging 3 times per week for 2-3 years.  These are the first 30 days.  You get through it, because the bees know what to do and little by little, help our bodies heal from the ravages of chronic Lyme Disease.

30 Days of Bee Venom Therapy

Bravery is… A Tear in the Eye (Strong Heart, Strong Will)

Recently someone at church found out about my starting apitherapy.  He said, “You are very brave.”  I had mixed feelings about that comment!

At first reaction, the thoughts in my head were “Brave? Nah, that doesn’t describe me, I would never call myself brave. How could someone call me brave when I see it as desperation or a last resort?”  What I actually said in an effort to protect myself from possible criticism was, “They say there is a fine line between bravery and stupidity.”  Truth is, I don’t believe that statement to be true in my case at all and it was merely a self-negating comment.  I MUST STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK ABOUT MY TREATMENT.

Beekeeper working with his bees without protective gear
BRAVERY: Mr. Beekeeper, you don’t mind a little sting?  Might happen.

Later that day, my eyes welled up with tears thinking how true it is — yes, I am brave.  Brave to try a non-mainstream therapy.  Brave to do this without research trials.  Brave to follow my intuition as the master leader.  Brave to make the 2 to 3 year commitment that is required to heal from Lyme Disease using the honey bees.

It feels good to be brave.

Bravery is… A Tear in the Eye (Strong Heart, Strong Will)

Sting Session #2

On July 12, 2015 I asked to be stung by honey bees.

Two days later, I came back.

More stings, please.


In the words of Oliver Twist:  

          Please Sir, may I have some more?

What? What? What? Wants some MORE?!

Today was my first time stinging the upper back. I have studied spine charts trying to learn which thoracic vertebrae and nerve pathways we are stinging each time, but it’s not gelling in my brain.  No idea which vertebrae we matched up with but the good news is that I didn’t even feel the stinger go in on the left side!

Definitely felt the venom traveling vertically on the left side, as soon as the stinger was in. Nothing was visible but I could feel very clearly where the sensation was traveling. And some “Oooooo, there’s the burn” 5 minutes after being stung.

Sooooooooooo much easier than the first sting session.

One sting on either side of the spine
                                                     One sting on either side of the spine
Sting Session #2

Bee Venom Therapy Begins with a Sting and a Yelp

Yesterday was my first sting day (July 12, 2015), and it went well.  Nervous and excited.  Forgot to bring the ice.  Beekeeper was fabulous (he stung me).  His apiary has at least twenty hives and thousands upon thousands of bees.  Listening to the hum was meditative and watching them traveling high in the sky to and from and around their hives was mesmerizing, relaxing.  I saved two bees from drowning in their drinking water, one bee scurrying nonstop on a cork like a lumberjack in a log rolling contest.  The bees were gentle and did just what we asked of them.  I got a good look at the underside of a bee, the stinger runs along the midline of the abdomen, retracted in “storage” until used for stinging.

Test sting & one therapeutic sting, at this, my very first apitherapy session.  Done.  Red welts, a bit of red/pink horizontal “brush strokes”  called “banding.” A very good sign.  Yes, the stings burn like a bitch.  But it’s so much better than living day to day in this chronic hell.  Two hours after my test sting, my ears were ringing at a moderate level.  Reminds me of my inflammation flares, when my tinnitus acts up.  So it makes me wonder whether this is inflammation ramping up temporarily to process the bee venom introduced today.  I do hope it’s temporary.  If my tinnitus ever becomes permanent, I will go certifiably insane.

The next day I was able to properly wake up. BING! My eyes are open!  Not groggy, dragging through what I “should” be doing in the mornings, like it has been for years.  And I pooped a lovely, beautiful, perfect poop in the morning.  It was like the poops the day after the nutritional IVs (Meyers Cocktail) I used to get.

So, my leaky gut issues might actually heal.  Do you hear that people?  That poop right there, that’s the SOUND OF HOPE.


Bee Venom Therapy Begins with a Sting and a Yelp