BOOK REVIEW: Why Can’t I Get Better?

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I was provided a copy of Why Can’t I Get Better, by Dr Richard Horowitz to review by St Martin’s Press. (Thank you!) This book is big buzz in the Lyme community right now. I first saw Dr¬†Horowitz on Katie Couric where he outlined some of his points, prior to the book release. He is spot on in his thinking that it’s not just Lyme Disease, or even the co-infections (commonly Bartonella, Babesia, Mycroplasma, and more) but many conditions that go together with Lyme Disease that cause someone to feel so sick.

Dr Horowitz calls this sickness MSIDS (Multiple Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome) due to all the components that must be looked at for lyme patients. If a patient is not feeling better after treatment for the lyme, then it’s time to look into other conditions such as: co-infections, heavy metals, hormones, adrenals, sleep conditions, and many more. This book rang so true for me. The Lyme treatment was not enough, I had to treat other conditions to feel better.

There is an excellent description of the major co-infections that go along with Lyme, and their treatments. There are herbal and antibiotic choices provided. Sprinkled throughout the chapters there are stories about patients, which helps provide a case study to examine at how these illnesses play out, including the varying types of severity and the types of stumbling blocks that can arise in treatment. These anecdotes also make the book much more readable for a layperson, and there is some humor infused into those sections.

There is a very good questionnaire that new patients should consider reading and filling out, or people with autoimmune conditions or other “mysterious” or hard-to-treat conditions should really look into. There’s another chart on the different conditions that go with Lyme (metals, etc) and testing and treatments that go with this. (This would be very helpful for a patient to bring into a doctor’s appointment!)

Reading the adrenal section was like reading about myself! My first doctor did not treat my adrenals properly and this held up my recovery for awhile. He really needs to read a copy of this book. In fact all doctors really should, especially those treating autoimmune conditions and fibromyalgia patients. Dr Horowitz does a great job of explaining how lyme can cause an autoimmune response and cause doctors to think there is an autoimmune condition. it’s so important to know if it’s Lyme since that is much more curable (in theory) than some of these autoimmune conditions. I for one am so grateful I don’t just think I have fibromyalgia anymore.

One critique of the book I’ve heard from other patients is that some of these treatments cost a lot. I don’t think the book was designed to be a book on how to self-treat or treat on the cheap. Some of these conditions require specific testing, which costs money. Some things, if you’ve tested or diagnosed clinically, you can treat yourself herbally and with certain supplements. That is addressed in the book and he provides resources to do that, to an extent. It’s a shame these treatments are not better covered by insurance, but that’s another topic for another day.

My issue with the book is that there is a only small section on mold sickness, but not a lot of emphasis on this or information. Often mold and Lyme overlap, more so than this book would have you believe. It’s hard to find a doctor to treat mold sensitivity properly, so I wished there was more information on this. Also, there wasn’t anything on EMF sensitivity, which some Lymies are finding is blocking their recovery. But, most other conditions that are commonly found with Lyme are covered.

I’d definitely recommend this to patients who want to be sure their treatment is on the right track, to new patients to better understand it, and to all medical professionals, since so few know much about Lyme and MSIDS. For people who have trouble reading, there is an audio version. Personally,¬† I used a highlighter and read a chapter or two at a time to help with processing of information. If you are interested in an online book group to help discuss what was read, please use the contact page and I can put you in touch with one.

It’s the best book on Lyme I’ve read and I highly recommend it. ***** (Five stars)

Related Articles: Are Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms Due to Lyme Disease?

and Are My Anxiety and Depression Due to Lyme Disease? By Dr Horowitz

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Luce’s Gluten-free Bread

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I was lucky enough to receive some Luce’s GF bread mix from my sister and family for Christmas. Wow what a bread! I don’t know if you have tried many gluten-free breads, but they are usually too soft on the outside or too hard all around. Well Luce’s puts all of them to shame.

Luce’s is so easy to put together, just add water. There is some rise time and a long baking time (over an hour) but it’s worth it.

So far we’ve tried the sourdough, which tastes just like sourdough, which is my favorite, and the buckwheat. Both have a nice thick crust, like french bread, and a soft interior fluffy bready part. The crunch to the outside is what’s I’ve been missing my 15 years of not eating wheat bread. The buckwheat is similar in texture but has a few seeds in it (pumpkin, chia, etc) and a slightly buckwheat-y flavor. I tried to tell myself it’s healthier with more variety.

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The bread is not yeast-free or carb-free but the ingredients are simple. It’s all vegan and doesn’t rely on eggs for sticking it together like other GF breads. We don’t eat it daily because it disappears so fast, and it’s a smaller loaf. So far we’ve been having it once a week on the weekends. We just served it to company last night and our dinner guest said it definitely could pass as non GF bread. He asked for seconds on it.

The initial mixes are $7.95 but you can get the flour packs in bulk for only $2.75 if you find your own baking bag (not even needed for rolls) or buy them for $2. It’s definitely more affordable that way. (This item was purchased by me and I was not paid to review it.)

Luce’s, you are our heroes for making such a convincing and deliciously crusty GF bread! We love you! Now, please make bagels.

Liver Helper Juice

Ever since I had issues with my gallbladder, I still get some pains in my liver. It went away for a few months, and I was very happy, but now it’s back. I’ve been trying to take extra good care of my liver and feeding it beet juice helps. The lemon and ginger are also good for beets, and help with the flavor as well.

Liver Helper Juice

ingredients:

  • 2 small or 1 large beet
  • 3 stalks celery or a cucumber
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 lemon (peeled if not organic)
  • 1 small apple

Push all ingredients through juicer. Strain if desired.

I’ve also been adding some more items to my Etsy shop. Check it out!

elephant trunk love 1

cocoa bean bar cover 2

goat beets hoop art

Vegan Package Swap: German Edition

Hi everyone. I want to post more in the new year but I do find myself still struggling with using wordpress and I think that keeps me from logging in as much as I’d like to. I should probably either take some sort of course to learn more or go to blogger.

Way back in November I did a package swap, international this time! We didn’t get each others packages until December. It was worth the wait! So much fun to get a package of vegan and GF treats from another country. And it was sugar-free too!

tigertee swarz tofu

Schwarzwald Tofu: this was a delicious marinated tofu. I wish we could get gluten-free tofu like this in the states. Everything here usually had soy sauce or something to gluten it up.

Tigertee: a fruity rooibos tea. What a cute package too.

Gluten-free Beer: I don’t drink due to my medications and for health reasons (It causes increased pain) but I did have a small sip of this on Christmas to celebrate. I shared with my family, who drink on a more frequent basis, said it was quite good. It tasted very much like the beer I remember.

Raw Bite: These were very similar to the US’s Larabar. Very tasty.

Lupin Spread: This was really tasty spread on a rice cracker. I wish I could replicate it in a recipe. I haven’t even seen lupin seeds anywhere in the US.

Tartex: We can’t figure out what this is! It seems like it’s very rich and fatty. Maybe a German version of vegemite?

Overall I was very pleased with my package. I decided to take a break from the package swaps for December and January due to my other Etsy things I was already at the post office enough and I had signed up for a few Secret Santas. I like that one can choose each month whether to join.

Hope you are having a good week.

Making goals with chronic illness

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Happy New Year! This is the time of year when people like to make resolutions, goals, out with the bad, in with the new, right?

It can be hard to face that if your health is poor or unpredictable. However, please don’t lose hope. There are some things you can do to make goals for the new year.

Short term goals are good

I like to make short-term goals, and then not give myself strict deadlines. For example I write a to-do list but don’t worry if I don’t cross things off in one day, I just leave it until the next day.

Be Realistic

A few months ago, it was very unrealistic for me to think that I might be able to do what I have energy for on an average day now. I knew my limits. So I usually only planned one thing per day, because I’d need the rest of the day to rest. Some people may need 3 days to rest after.

Making health goals

Making health goals can be done with or without your doctors input. Instead of making goals for how you will feel, make goals on which health issues you want to address. That’s the part you can control. For example last January, I made a goal to address mold poisoning and some other genetic issues I had heard about through a lyme conference. When I did treat them, I felt better. But my goal was to find a proper treatment, not to get better, since that part is not always in my control.

Making personal goals

It can be hard for a lot of people who are sick to make personal goals. Perhaps your hobbies were taken away by your illness. I am unable to do pottery which I loved, due to a bad back. Bad joints keeps me from skiing which I loved in my old life. It took me awhile, but I found new hobbies which I could do within my limitations. Even when my hands were so painful I could not type, I still listened to books on tape and used Dragon Dictate to help me “write”.

I see a lot of sick people give up on personal goals. I do think that trying to find something you can still do and carrying it out can help with depression and hopelessness. Some people even find connection with others is a good goal. If you are sick, perhaps finding like-minded people or others with your same illness online can be a goal so you feel less hopeless.

Diet Goals

Many a year and different times of year I have had diet goal or “resolutions”. Sometimes with diet it can be easier to ease into it rather than be too strict. However others like to clean the house of the forbidden food and then go cold turkey. In the case of diet, dates can be helpful. I like to make a goal like, “No sugar until Valentine’s day”, so I know I will have a good stretch of time where my body can heal from the sugar. Then if I really still want it on that date, I will indulge. My body has had a break so that small amount of sugar will not be as harmful as the daily impact.

This year I want to add in more juicing. Since my nausea has been much better, I can tolerate juicing more. Therefore I think it’s reasonable I want to juice a few times a week. So far this past week I’ve done a good job at it. If I forget for a few days, no sweat but I’ll try to remind myself to get back on track.

Setbacks

We all have setbacks from reaching our goals. Try not to give up. I like to give myself a day to just recover if it’s been a tough time (like driving for me, it really takes me down!) I used to have to take a few days or a week. It’s OK to do and don’t feel bad about it. In fact not taking that time can mean even worse health issues. If your body says stop, stop.

Again I mention not having too strict of a deadline. If you have a goal of reading a book a week, and you fall short, you will perhaps get down on yourself. Change expectations but keep the essence of that value of reading, for example to 2 books a month instead.

Hope this was helpful! I have been able to make life changes by setting goals. It makes me sad to see other people with chronic illness giving up on goals for fear of failure. Perhaps you can really change your life to be healthier or happier, or both by setting a realistic small goal. Just keep at it and change can happen.

Happy New Year! Wishing you all a happier and healthier 2014.

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