Can You Make Just One?

After a breathtaking hike in the mountains near Termes, France, one of our favorite places to visit, my husband and I took a break to admire the view. We were talking about the views we like best and how they make us feel. One day it might be a white sandy beach with the blue ocean waves gently caressing the sand. Or maybe being high above the desert on a mountain where the stillness in the air sends a sense of calm through the whole body and then there are other times when a hike on a wooded path that opens to an expansive view, will sometimes make me cry. We talked about all of these views and the sensations or thoughts that they provoke and which one, if any, that we could call our favorite.

My husband then said to me as we sat admiring the view before us, “a breathtaking view like this, is like seeing a beautiful woman – they are everywhere. All you have to do is pick one and commit to it” and then he kissed me. Yes, moments like this really happen and I am beyond grateful. And YES, I am a very lucky lady. I will forever seek the beauty that surrounds me and be present in the moment, for that moment is all that we have.

In life, my experience has been that sometimes there are too many things that I want to do or that I am good at and therefore I stay stuck right where I am. I can’t seem to make a commitment to anything. My mind goes into confusion and I find it difficult to stay focused on one thing. Does this ever happen to you?

Knowing that there is enough, enough of everything, can help to ease this anxiety or frustration or lack thinking. Understanding that the universe does provide and that each of us is here for a purpose will help to get your feet out of the cement blocks that they may seem stuck in and into action. Having an abundant mindset will actually help you in commiting. Sounds like an oxymoron but it is true. Abundance isn’t about the stuff, it is about the moments. Finding where your true north lies, or your unstoppable passion, is your only job.

Ask yourself this:

  • What is it that I would do all day long and not get paid for it
  • What comes so damn easy to me that I would be surprised that people would pay me for it
  • Who is it that I want to hang around with or interact with all day long
  • What gets me so excited or jazzed up that it keeps me up at night
  • What is that one skill that I have, that I most enjoy sharing with others

In reality having trouble commiting to anything is about our relationship to abundance. If I said to you, “there is always enough,” what would your response be? Do you have faith that there is enough? I know, it is easier said than done. Through my battle with Chronic Lyme Disease I was given the opportunity to seek counseling. I jumped right on board. I knew I needed someone to talk too. During our first visit and for each visit after that we talked about faith. Not necessarily in a religious kind of way but in an abundant way of thinking. At first I had no idea what she was talking about.

But during that first visit, the counselor asked me if I prayed for myself. I laughed. “Why would I pray for myself when there are so many others in need”, I said to her. She said quite simply, “because you are worth it.” We spent the rest of that session talking about the words to use when asking for help and letting go of lack thinking. It was ground breaking for me.

I realized just how difficult it was to ask for help and to commit to even myself, when everything seemed so dark. What I was lacking was abundant thinking. My world, at that time, seemed to be crashing in around me. I wasn’t able to see the other side.

But once I began to see the abundance that surrounded me, even though the bank account was running dry from the medical expenses and after having my profession riped right out from under me, I still knew that I had something to share. My core self was still intact, although a little bruised and bumped.

That dark time in my life taught me about commitment and that the world will always provide, if you can see clearly the result. Just as my husband had made a commitment to me, I made a commitment to myself. That commitment turned into this blog and my life’s passion to inspire others to take the leap of faith by committing to themselves.

I have been fueled by abundant thinking which has created my life of travel, as I seek to help others globally design a life they most deeply desire, while I am free from having to be in any one location. By having commitment to myself, I can make choices and decisions which indeed make me feel more abundant. How abundant is your world? Are you ready to make a commitment to yourself?

With love and light,

Merry Lynch

P.S. If you need a place to start or a place to set your life in order, then begin by taking my FREE on-line, self-guided course on HOW TO SET AN INTENTION. This two hour FREE program will get you thinking and moving your life forward to your true north. Make a commitment to yourself, right here, right now.

 

What Happens When You Break Down – While Traveling The World

We’ve been through a lot together, this old broad and I. She is over 20 and I, well, let’s just say a wee bit over that. We both have a lot of miles on us, many of them have been together. We break down, patch ourselves together and get back up again. We just fit together. She has been everywhere with me, well almost. We travelled throughout the US and most of Europe, traveling across the Atlantic and down the Mediterranean. We’ve been over heated and gotten a little banged up along the way, but I think it has made us more resilient. This is when being old gets comfy.

I love being on the road. Really, I enjoy any kind of travel, car, bus, train, plane, as long as I’m seeing something new, it’s all good. Traveling by car has its own set of implications, from finding gas stations, to blowing out a tire, breaking down in the middle of nowhere, to backing up into a cement wall, and let me not forget…getting lost or as I prefer to say…I’m just misplaced (it’s not so scary that way.)

Taking care of a car that is broken down or damaged in some way, is frustrating for sure. But taking care of a body that has just stopped working is a whole other issue. Many people tell me that they just would not travel if they had a chronic illness or a pain in their ass. But for me, that is exactly what pushed me to sell it all and buy a plane ticket.
Being out of control with my health, is nothing short of frustrating. The ads on tv make me think there is a magic pill for everything. But…that just isn’t so. I am the magic pill. I have choices. I have resources. I have a drive to live an abundant life, whatever that may be.

Brought up in a natural living household where my Dad was a Chiropractor, I seem to look down that path first. Illness is never pleasant but at the same time, you can learn a lot about yourself, if you are willing to listen.
Wherever we go, my husband and I, the routine is making sure my supplements will last the journey. That my exercise needs are met by means of me packing my yoga socks and hand gloves as well as my resistance bands. If nothing else, keeping my body flexible, giving my blood some fresh oxygen, with plenty of rest, does a world of good.
I’ll also check out what natural therapies are available in that country or region where we are going. I have even been known to schedule appointments for therapies that I have not experienced before just to see what they might provide. Other countries have different wellness modalities than you might find in US, so it makes for interesting conversation, mindset and health opportunities.

Medical Tourism is a billion-dollar industry. Who knew? People travel all over the world travel to places that specialize in a certain surgery, a disease treatment or offer a natural care facility. It’s pretty eye opening.
Coming from the US, I always thought we had the best of everything. Come to find out, that is not necessarily so. There are state of art hospitals, dental offices, cosmetic surgery facilities, and doctors’ offices all over the world. So, using the excuse that I can’t travel because I have an illness or a pain in my ass, is just fear talking.

One year ago, I did indeed end up in the hospital for a four-night stay. I was absolutely freaked out because I didn’t speak the language. The hospital was not a gorgeous as the ones in the US, but the equipment was like something out of Star Wars. State of the art everything. The doctors all spoke English in varying degrees. Not all the nurses did but we communicated in other ways.

Upon my release from the hospital, I was asked by the Director how I felt my procedures and care was. I told him how safe I felt and that the care was exceptional. He smiled and said, “well we wouldn’t want you to die on our watch. There is too much paperwork with you being an American.” Even though there is a lot of truth to that, we both had a good laugh.

So, the next time your perusing through some travel magazines or watching the travel channel, wishing that could be you, go ahead and make it happen. Don’t just sit there and wish for SOMEDAY, that isn’t even a day of the week.

With love and light,

Merry Lynch

P. S. Don’t let life pass you by. Set an intention of how you want your life to unfold. Go ahead, use my FREE on-line program to get your life on track to all the abundance that life has to offer.

Health benefits of eating seeds

SEEDS –  good for your health and your life

Hanging out in a foreign country during the summer has many benefits, one being the harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables where the farmers line the streets to share their abundance. Polish farmers, no matter what size their plot of land always have something to share even if it is a bag full of paprika’s or pears picked fresh off the tree and left by roadside for you to enjoy. The honor system is in place here where you take what you want and leave the payment behind. Everyone gets to share in the abundance.

You might think that growing up in a small New England town where the farm stands were plenty, that I might have planted a few tomatoes along the way. But actually, I never really thought about where my food came from or how it grew. It just always seemed to appear on my plate.

My mom, a stay at home mother, was not a gardener. She did have window boxes that she loved to tend to but never planted anything that we could eat and certainly never grew anything from seed. Gardening all seemed very foreign to me. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get my hands dirty, I never knew where to begin. As a young girl, when not at school or at the beach you would find me in the closest tree with pine sap all through my long curls and all over my hands and clothing. So, getting dirty never seemed to stop me from doing anything. I just didn’t have a role model or even know of anyone that gardened or grew their own vegetables.

Poland has a history steeped in gardening with a love for the soil. During the centuries of death and destruction, gardening was one way they could keep food on the table and be able to barter with the neighbors who may have milk cows, chickens or pigs, maybe even some honey. We met with a farmer at Hala Mirowska, the Warsaw farmers market, whose family has had a stand there for over 100 years and have no plans of doing anything else. They are farmers to their core.

 

This love for the soil continues and the abundance at the farmers markets is both beautiful to see and mouth-watering to taste. There are many things that surprise me about the food that the Polish farmers produce, the size, the different varieties of the same fruit or vegetable, the taste, the color. They even have farmers that only sell eggs, which are left out in the sun in a basket, and you can purchase the eggs based on the flavor or nutrients you are looking for. The chickens are feed different kinds of food to produce different nutrients and tastes. Food is eaten by season, something that I certainly had to get used to when first moving here. I have heard that eating by season is healthy but never really experienced it. It’s really quite different and was very frustrating at first.

Coming from America where I could get anything I wanted at any time, made it a hard adjustment in my cooking style. The summer harvest is colorful and tasty where the fruit or vegetables seem to burst with flavor in your mouth, while the winter harvest is made up of cabbage, sauerkraut, potatoes, pickles and root vegetables. Quite a different recipe collection and color on your dining plate, especially since the meat selection is generally made up of pork or chicken. So your winter dinner plate can look pretty bland, still tasty, but bland looking.

Summertime in Poland is when you find people of all ages wandering the streets with giant sunflowers (some bigger than the size of my hand), leaving behind a trail of seed hulls wherever they go. I am a big fan of sunflower seeds but had never thought of eating them right out of the flower. Sure, they are messy and maybe your hands get a little dirty, but it is fun to grab a flower and munch wherever you may be heading. It’s a summer thing. You can’t do this any other time of year. That is what makes it so special and silly all at the same time.

What I didn’t realize are the health benefits from eating sunflower seeds. For instance, one quarter cup of sunflower seeds provides your body with over half of the amount of copper that your body needs for the day. For menopausal women, these seeds are packed with vitamin E which helps to reduce hot flashes as well as reduce the risk of colon cancer. They are also packed with magnesium, which helps with your mood and depression. The seeds also provide vitamin B1, B3 and B6 along with selenium, phosphorus and folate providing the body with the nutrients it needs to ward off stress. And don’t let me forget that it’s kind of meditative to sit and pull the seeds out one by one and eat them.

So even if you can only purchase sunflower seeds packaged in a bag, go out and get on the summertime bandwagon of enjoying this nutrient packed powerhouse of what Mother Nature has to offer and leave your own trail of sunflower seed hulls wherever you go.

Enjoy the fruits of summer!

Merry Lynch

P.S. Many people ask me how I did it. How did I pack up everything and move abroad? How did I bust through fears, anxiety, financial implications, and just do it? If that is you, the one thing I can share is that I set an intention. I set an intention on every vision board that I created. I set an intention on my screen saver on my computer. I set an intention and would say it to myself when I looked in the mirror. I felt it, I could smell it, and I could taste it. It takes igniting and aligning each of the senses so that your sub-conscious begins to believe it and places before you the tools and opportunities to make it happen. Then all I had to do was act.

Here is a FREE program I created to teach you how to that. It’s called LIVE LIFE FEARLESSLY THROUGH THE POWER OF INTENTION. It worked for me and I know it can for you as well. Go ahead, it’s FREE. Get your life back and going in the direction that you dream about. There is a great workbook that you can download as well that will take your right through the process as well as videos to keep you on track. Get it today!

 

A Minor Setback

A few weeks ago I experienced a minor set-back. If you are like me, these set-backs, delays or derailments can take us off course leaving us frustrated, alone and feeling just plain lousy about life.

I show up pissed off at myself (because generally I did something that was not in alignment with myself) or I become scared and anxious because I don’t understand what is happening. This time, after a visit to the doctor and some internet research I was better able to get a grip on what was happening but then I became angry and went down the never ending pity party rabbit hole of “oh, why is this happening,” “poor me, poor me.”

Until I realized that all this negative energy certainly wasn’t going to make anything better I then gave myself a virtual slap in the head and began to work on my attitude and self-care.

After all this is a minor setback and when it is all said and done minor ain’t so bad. There is afterall the minor leagues, that is a step before greatness to the majors. Then there is the minor cut which is a small cut or bruise and of course the minor set-back which can take things a little off course.

Certainly this isn’t the first delay or the first derailment I have experienced in my life and thriving and surviving with a chronic illness comes with ups and downs. I know that..but still..it gets to me sometimes.

Living with a chronic illness such as Lyme Disease brings about unexpected surprises at a moments glance. Being caught off guard on anything in life, if not understood, can send us spiraling out of control. Having the where with all to notice it and then having the courage to stop the spiral will make all the difference.

Madame Curie once said that “life is not to be feared, just understood.” OK, so certainly I nor anyone else on the planet totally has a handle on all of the effects that Disease and its co-infections has on the body but what I do know is that my body is altered and I need to embrace that and not push against it.

As I was walking down the street, thankfully with my husband, a very large eye floater obstructed my view. What I really want to say is this giant, green slimy thing that looked like something out of a science fiction movie flew in front of my vision and scared the shit out of me. I felt like I was being attacked by something inside my body (which truth be known about Lyme Disease, that was exactly what was happening).

Thankfully we were able to get a doctor appointment with an eye specialist that day to uncover what was going on.

Lyme Disease delivers many things in varying ways to different people (hence the reason it is difficult to diagnose and treat). My jolt of the day was a floater. I am told floaters are known to occur naturally as we age and those of us with Lyme Disease experience them more often and earlier in age. A floater can appear as a dark spot or line that moves about in your line of vision. The floater that I experienced was on a much larger scale and reminded me of something out of the movie Ghost Busters (I know, I’m dating myself here).

 

On the big scheme of things the concern is a retinal tear that can a cause blindness, another side effect of Lyme Disease. I am attempting to see this (no pun intended) as a minor set-back in order to stop the negative voices.

Anyway, after being placed on bed rest, no exercise, no lifting, not getting excited or emotional for several weeks the tests and an ultra sound of my eye have found no further damage. This is a blessing.

What do I do from here? Take care of myself, get plenty of sleep, yoga, eat a non gluten, no sugar, no yeast diet, meditate, be grateful and share my experiences. I CAN do that! I have the right to choose.

Minor right? That is how I choose to see it. What do you do about minor set-backs?

Be well,

Merry Lynch

The Woman Who Lay Beside Me

Sometimes life throws you curve balls. Many times they are unexpected and you need to think on your feet. You know those moments in life where you have to pull yourself together and be the strong one, even though you wish you could just dig a hole and slide on in. This was one of those instances.

I found myself needing to check in to the local hospital in Warsaw, Poland. Having no idea what to expect and what I was about to experience led me to doing my best in being present and not freaking out. I was one of the lucky ones that day, I got a bed in a shared room. Sometimes these things, that we might take for granted, are an opportunity to learn something either about yourself (most likely) or someone else.

As my husband and I were escorted to my room for the next few nights, I was introduced to my roommate. She was a woman in her late sixties and spoke no English. Which I am really ok with, although I love to meet new people and be out an about, I generally love my quite time.

As the days past, “the woman who lay beside me” and I began to communicate. I know that may sound a little ridiculous but it’s true. So we weren’t able to have lengthy discussions but I did learn a few new Polish words to add to my repertoire. We laughed as I struggled to pronounce the Polish words for fork, knife and spoon. We talked about our grand children and the love of family. I showed her pictures of places in America where I had lived and told her about the beauty that the desert of Arizona has to offer, the wide spans of the beaches in California, and the beautiful coastline of Maine. The distraction was well needed for both of us.

She was from a small town outside of Warsaw and had three adult children and a beautiful grand daughter. She told me of her life, in not so many words. I learned she contracted Lung Disease thirty-five years prior, from being a smoker. She had a lung removed yet did not stop the smoking. What makes people play with fire like that?

As her body struggled back to health, Diabetes overtook her body eventually leading to her right leg being amputated. When I met the woman who lay beside me, her body was bruised and she was suffering from asthma…yet the smoking continued. Her family would come to visit and wheel her outside to fulfill her addiction. It was a strange thing to witness.

Even though we could not communicate in words we could in actions. As I practiced my morning and evening yoga and meditation each morning she watched and lay silent. As her life choices have taken her down a different path and the face of regret seemed to seep from her body she had the opportunity to look at the rest of her life maybe in a different way.

We are each on our own path. We each have choices to make.

I lay beside her and watch as she is places the inhaler over her nose and mouth to ease the asthma. Watching her take these deep breaths I wonder when will be her last one.

The doctor arrives to share some new test results. For me, today is the day I get my release papers. Although my findings are inconclusive I am well enough to go home. “The woman that lay beside me” had different results. Her tests show the onset of osteoporosis and she shakes her head. There are not enough hours in the day to layer in another medication. She is told she would be moved to hospice…my heart sinks.

As I gather my possessions I can’t help but think about how our lives can take us down such different paths. But for now as I gaze into her eyes the tears stream down our cheeks and give each other hug as I turn to walk out the door.

With blessings and hugs,

Merry

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The Accidental Trip to the Polish Hospital

Getting sick in a foreign country is never any fun. Well, to be honest, getting sick anywhere isn’t fun. I like to be home where I know my surroundings, where I can have some chicken soup and wrap up in my cozy bed. Where my doctor is a phone call away and he/she knows me and we have a history together. Those are creature comforts that we often don’t think about when traveling.

However, three years ago when my husband and I decided to hit the road we knew this was something we might have to deal with. But being the proverbial optimist that I am, I try to push those thoughts to the back and focus on more exciting things. This time however, it kind of bit me in the ass and knocked me on my feet.

The flu turned bad and as much as I thought I had it under control, it (the flu) had me right where it wanted me. I was incapacitated and not sure what to do. Getting sick when you have Lyme Disease is always an added fear. You can have Lyme Disease and live a fabulous life but once you add in some new parasites…not so good. After not being able to keep things down or in the local doctor, it was suggested that we check into the ER (Emergency Room) to get this under control.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when walking into the ER of a hospital in a foreign country. Let me assure you I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

Once I let go of the thought that I had just walked into a scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was I able to let go of the fear and see the joy and laughter in the situation. After all, I didn’t really have a choice, this illness that had overcome my body was out of my control and I had to let go of the wheel and trust that someone somewhere knew what the hell they were doing because I certainly didn’t.

When I first arrived at the University Hospital in Warsaw, Poland, I was scared and terribly sick. Previous antibiotics which I haven’t taken in over 5 years or more wreaked havoc on my body leaving me with post antibiotic diarrhea. Who knew-it’s a real thing?

The antibiotic treatment also did something else, something that anyone with Lyme Disease fears. The antibiotic treatment woke up my Lyme parasites that were just waiting to come out to play with the newcomers.

I look at these parasites as the friend that each one of us has. You know the one, the friend that kind of rubs you the wrong way but is good to take to a party. Lyme spirochetes are the same way. They’re in my body and if I practice good self-care and keep positive thoughts I can kind of put them in a trance where we can co-exist together. Certainly, this is not in scientific terms but hopefully it is an explanation that you can relate to instead of me using all the “scientific” terminology.

Once I screw things up, push myself too hard, stress myself out, don’t get enough sleep, forget to have fun and see joy in life then my immune system breaks down and guess who wants to come out to play?

So, as I could have felt sorry for myself – which I have to admit I did for a minute or two- I then looked around to see the staff working so hard to communicate with me and make me comfortable. I was in a university hospital full of professors and student resident’s eager to make sure that the “token American” was well taken care of. They certainly didn’t want to have this case go awry.

After I was all checked in and thankfully in a room instead of on a bed in the hallway, which there were plenty of (patients in beds in the hallway-I mean), they began to administer drugs to stop the intense pain. I cannot take away the fact that I was in a hospital in a foreign country and scared to death but with so much out of my control I really had to just had to “let go and let God” as the saying goes.

In my room there were no gadgets, no machines that I was hooked up to, no noise or distractions. The staff were diligent, kind and mindful of my situation of being in a foreign country. Sleep was what they wanted me to do. So, they took their readings to make sure that I was safe and out of danger but rest and comfort was of utmost importance.

Being a birth doula in the US I have had an opportunity to be in many hospitals. The noise, the machines, the computer screens which at times seem to be more important than the person in the bed were none existent here. It was refreshing and for some reason made me feel safe. I felt at least they have looked into my eyes, they understand their job, they are passionate about their profession. Now, I am not saying that hospital staffs in America do not know their jobs or are not passionate. I am only referring to how this tactile interaction made me feel.

After a day and a half, the pain subsided and I was able to get up and out of bed. I needed to move these toxins around and not let them get too comfortable but leaving my little clean but sparsely decorated room meant there was a whole new world waiting for me.

In Poland, as in the rest of the EU countries, hospital care is free. It’s good care, but not always pretty. I had to get over the looks of things and realize that it was the care that was important, not how pretty the hallway looked. So, instead of counting how many lights were out in the hallway, I took the opportunity to take a deeper look into the eyes of the other patients that I passed along the way.

Instead of focusing on the fact that if I wanted to watch television I had to pay for it in two-hour increments, I used this time to get acquainted with my roommate, who spoke no English, and began practicing some new Polish words with her. She was overjoyed and we certainly had some laughs and found that we could communicate on some level even though it wasn’t always through words.

The care I received was expert. My room immaculate though the only decoration was a cross on the wall, which interestingly enough made me feel like I wasn’t alone. The food-once I was allowed was wholesome and good.

After some blood draws and a USG of my stomach and intestines all we knew was that my intestines were inflamed but still were unsure of the cause.

On Saturday evening as I was wheeled out of my room-still in my hospital bed looking up at the ceiling as I rolled down the windy corridors from Building D to Building A, I noticed the broken ceiling tiles, the fluorescent lights that needed to be replaced, and thought where the hell am I.

As we traversed through building after building winding our way from my safe hospital room to where my CT Scan would be performed I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I had to remember to breathe. From somewhere deep inside I could hear my first meditation teacher saying -take 3 deep breaths in and out so you can feel your belly rise. I listened to those words and let the emotion subside so I could be present and enjoy the ride-so to speak.

Soon after we were met by a young man who ushered us through a set of double doors. It was like a scene from The Wizard of Oz as Dorothy comes over the hillside for the first time and sees Emerald City.

It was like I had entered into a fantasy land. There was state of the art everything. Beautiful murals on the wall with lovely lighting. The ceiling and walls were in perfect condition and quite artfully designed. I laughed at myself to think “how American of me” to be fooled by my ride through the corridors. The money was spent where the money needed to be. I realized how quickly judgments pop into my mind seemingly to come from nowhere.

We are programmed in America to have hospitals and doctor offices adorned with beautiful paintings on the wall. The hospitals mission statement with smiling faces all around it. Beautiful surroundings and furnishings with all the bells and whistles. Free TV! But that doesn’t come FREE. I was reflecting on this throughout my visit. The care and machinery was no different. The brand names on the newly purchased CT Scan, USG or X-ray machine was either German or American and new. So, if the American healthcare system is going to change, then we are going to have to change our expectations as well. It’s only fair, don’t you think?

Why does the hospital room in American have free tv or a tv at all? Why am I monitored with noisy machinery during my visit, is it really necessary or just a legal protection? I’m just asking…I don’t have the answers…it’s just notices.

On Monday, they needed to perform a “short colonoscopy” to see if there were any abnormalities. Being Monday morning in a university hospital brought with it the entourage of the student apprentices in all areas, from doctors, nurses, pharmacists, you name it, they were there and usually five or six deep.

Being that I needed a “short colonoscopy” that comes with an enema. So, roll yourself over missy and let me have at it. I had to laugh. What else could I do? I wish you could have seen the faces of these students. I, happen to love enemas and use them all the time to control my toxicity levels, so this was nothing new to me except for the fact that I had an audience. I felt like at least this is something that I know how to do so no need to worry.

As usual, you hold an enema for as long as you can before relieving yourself. Which is just what I did. This time however, something went wrong. In the bathroom, my insides burned, hives began to cover my body, I was in excruciating pain. I yelled for my husband who gasped as he burst through the door.

He immediately alerted the nurse who happened to be in the room and she ran for the doctor. Two doctors showed up immediately and ordered cortisone injections as the first thought was an allergic reaction. All we could do was wait. I had to pull it together, there was nothing anyone could do but wait. Breathing, focusing, waiting. What seemed like eternity finally passed. The hives dissipated, the pain subsided. My husband ushered me back to my bed, exhausted and emotionally spent. I slept.

Two hours later it was time for the colonoscopy. All I could do was wish that “Scotty” would “beam me up” and get me out of here, instead I was lead down the hallway. The procedure was executed by the professor of the department. He was kind and spoke a little English and tried his best to make me feel comfortable.

Tuesday morning comes around and the doctor comes in to tell my husband and I of all the findings. I’m thinking to myself, it will be so great to have some answers. Instead, yet again, the bugs win. The tests are clear, I am healthy. My heart sinks. The Lyme spirochete and its co-infections are so clever that they are able to mask themselves as regular cells so that they cannot be detected. This is where the problem lies.

So as the doctor writes up my dismal papers and allows me to go home I only have more questions instead of answers. The medical profession has its hands full with this one. Lyme Disease is smart. It shows up differently on different people at different times. It leaves us frustrated, mad, feeling alone.

But life must go on and for moments other than this I can honestly say that I have a good life. Although I have no answers, I have the hope that tomorrow will bring some further understanding as I search for clarity and perspective.

Certainly, I hope and pray that I never have to go through this ordeal again. I am grateful for the experience to yet again view my judgements of others or of my surroundings and learn from them. I am thankful for the staff that so tirelessly and with expert hands took care of me. I am in deep gratitude of my husband who at a moment’s notice is ready to be by my side in yet another episode of life with Lyme Disease. And I am beholden to the country of Poland where I lovingly call home to have a free health care system that although may not always be pretty it will also never bankrupt me or put me in financial danger. My four night stay with expert care = $0. Grateful, yes.

 

 

 

 

The Truth About Venice and Traveling with Lyme Disease

I would be lying if I told you that Venice was awful. Just by being Venice itself it is magnificent. However, on a recent trip there I was blown away and not in a good way. Sure, it is breathtaking, almost too much so. At times, it was hard to even take it all in. The breath of the views from everywhere are magical. Then there is the cuisine which in and of itself is divine not to mention the never-ending flow of wine from the tap. And least I forget the Gondolier. Not only was he handsome but toured us through the windy canals with expert guidance and information. What else could one desire?

In traveling around the globe with Chronic Lyme Disease I find it to be a gentle dance between wanting to see and have it all to listening to my body and its needs. When traveling even if I am doing a day trip I must allow time for rest and relaxation, the quite time needed to recharge. Venice for me, seemed to have none of that. My eyes were exploding from all the beauty that I was surrounded by and my senses were firing off on all guns. For most people that’s just what they want, especially while in a place like Venice. When traveling with Chronic Lyme Disease this can be a dangerous and often a scary place to be.

For me in my Lyme journey, traveling brings me the most joy yet can also bring the most angst and I must be prepared for both. Venice brought about challenges because of the beautiful, never ending windy streets throughout the city. It was like I was in a never-ending maze and being map reading challenged, at times it was maddening and frightening.

The city or island of Venice is broken up into six districts or neighborhoods. Each of these districts are beautiful and breath taking onto themselves. The shopping, food, drinks were everywhere but nowhere was there a patch of grass or a tree to slumber under. I call it my wall. It’s the time when everything seems to go dark and my legs can no longer move, I can’t think and sometimes am unable to even ask for help. Those that know me (my husband for instance), see this darkness coming on me before I even feel it. This wall, as I call it, is the time I need to hibernate and it must be done quickly. So, the beautiful, windy streets of Venice served to be problematic for me.

Self-care is the utmost of importance, especially when traveling. I use these tips to help guide me to insure a great time filled with memories that will last a lifetime:

  • Sleep and rest – make sure to find a hotel, Airbnb, or bed and breakfast that is off the beaten path to better ensure peace and quiet. Sleep is the best way for the adrenal glands to recharge and for your body to recuperate. I always pack lavender room spray for my pillow, a lightly scented travel candle and some chamomile tea to drink before going to sleep.
  • Drink water – staying hydrated will help your organs to keep up with you. Eight 8 ounce glasses a day is a minimum and when traveling I find the more the better works best. Finding a bathroom can sometimes be a challenge but if all else fails I will just take a break and hop into a restaurant or bar for a sparkling water with lemon and a quick pee. Make sure to have change in your pocket at all times as some countries and in some places, there is a small fee. Those are actually the ones I prefer as it usually means they are cleaned more regularly.
  • Diet – why does this word bring up such ugly thoughts? Diet and Chronic Lyme Disease go hand in hand. It’s a lifestyle not a diet, well at least that is what I like to tell myself. With Chronic Lyme Disease we need to lighten the burden that our body goes through to process food so it is best to be gluten free (even if you don’t have a gluten intolerance), sugar free (really hard to do in places like Venice), yeast free (what no bread or pizza?), and least I mention…alcohol free (ok, so this is my cheat). This type of diet in a place like Venice is difficult to do, I will admit. And I must say, this is where I went wrong. I cheated way too much on everything.
  • Meditation – This is a daily must do whether you have ever meditated or not. Meditation and deep breathing brings the ever need oxygen to the tainted blood stream and brain of the Chronic Lyme Disease sufferer. Closing your eyes allows us to quite the mind, giving the body a break and a time to recharge. By emptying the mind of thought you give the body time to shift back and strength or rejuvenate to be able to continue its journey. If you are new to meditation grab my e-book Beginners Guide to Meditation here for women and for men (it’s free) and will help to guide you.
  • Planning – I can’t stress this enough. I love, love, love to wing it but that act no longer serves me. My days are planned in four hour increments. For me, this four-hour guide insures that I can function, communicate, think, enjoy and participate in activities (I call it my new normal) before my hibernation period. It is best to let everyone know of your plans and to let them in on what you need to do to remain active and alert throughout the trip. By not telling those that you are traveling with about your Lyme Disease is doing everyone a dis-service. It’s like lying to your best friend. All of the sudden you stop talking because you can’t think any more or you stop walking and everyone goes into panic or judgement. If they know ahead of time, then plans can be made and everyone gets to enjoy and you get to see and visit the places that really matter to you.

Chronic Lyme Disease is a life long journey. It is important to see the opportunities for personal growth even in the darkest of times. I believe my Chronic Lyme Disease has made me a better person. It has made me “stop and smell the roses” and to be present. Being present is a gift that I can give to everyone and it is a gift that will be remembered long after I am gone.

Travel well and often my friends. Let self-care be your guide and enjoy all that the world has to offer.

Enjoy!

Merry Lynch

 

 

 

 

Mixing Cultures and Ingredients

Mixing cultures – Italian Limoncello with an American recipe made with Polish ingredients

Choosing to live overseas comes with some trials and tribulations, many of which are self-induced (some with tears, others with laughter). The view I had envisioned in living overseas was certainly seen through rose colored glasses as I am known to be the hopeless romantic. Living in Europe with all its history, the ease of travel from country to country with different languages, and the varying fresh types of food all seemed so dreamy.

For sure life is different and most days are filled with awe. My first venture in moving was in relocating from my home state of Maine to traveling across the country to settle in Southern California. The palm trees and the never-ending bloom of color drew me. But coming from a state that has a total population hovering around one million to moving to a county that has almost three million was a huge transition. One that I never really adjusted to.

Then we (my husband and I) decide to move to Europe. It was a bucket list thing prompted by my diagnose of Chronic Lyme Disease. As international and cool as I like to think I am there are some things about living overseas that make it a little challenging. That challenge is the ever-impending trip to the grocery store.

Ok so maybe it is totally my fault for moving to a country where I don’t speak the language and where consonants are used three times as much as vowels but the metric system to boot? Google translate has become more than my friend, it is a life line. However, when coming to the metric system and converting ingredients, now that takes it to a whole new level.

From the oven temperature to cups and tablespoons making American recipes in a foreign country has been intimidating. Add on top of that ingredients that are country specific like cream cheese or semi-sweet chocolate chips and you can spiral out of control.

Now, some eighteen months later, before I trek off to the farmer’s market or grocery store I make sure to translate my ingredients list and attempt to change over all of my measurements. So, I have Google Translate for the wording which in Poland can sometimes still be off and now I have found an app on the Google play store for converting the ingredients called Unit Converter. It’s free so if you find yourself romping around a foreign country and decide to cook something you’ll need it.

Limoncello Pops Recipe (Vegan, Grain Free, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free) by Rose from The Clean Dish

1 Tablespoon Organic Coconut Oil

1/2 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (and a little more for rolling the balls)

1/2 Cup Almond Flour or Almond Meal

1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup – preferably organic

1 Tablespoon Limoncello

1/4 Teaspoon lemon extract

Pinch of salt

In a saucepan melt coconut oil on low heat. Combine all other ingredients in a medium size bowl. Once coconut oil is melted pour it in with the rest of the ingredients and combine with your hands. If the dough is too crumbly add a little more coconut oil to moisten.

Roll the dough into small balls, then roll the balls in some unsweetened shredded coconut to coat. Place the balls on a plate and place in the freezer for one hour.

Adding the melted semi-sweet chocolate bits was a big hit and one I highly suggest. I just place about 1/4 cup of the semi-sweet chocolate bits in a make-shift double boiler and melted.

*This recipe comes from Rose over at The Clean Dish. Check her out!

Enjoy!

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