Don't Take the Little Things for Granted!

I think the last few months (and especially the last few weeks) have been the hardest I’ve endured thus far in this battle with Lyme Disease, co-infections, chronic pain, and nagging anxiety. In June of this year (2019), I had two more tick bites, and even though I caught them and removed them right away, I believe they made my health much worse than it already was. Since then, my pain has intensified and been relentless (especially the last week) … just day after day of nausea, abdominal pain, rib pain, back pain, head pain, face pain, chest pain, difficulty comprehending and articulating, memory problems, anxiety attacks, brain inflammation, air hunger, weakness, malaise/yuck feeling, etc.

As I said, it’s especially been hard over the last week. I’m not sure if the new homeopathic meds I’m taking are causing me to have a horrible herxheimer reaction or what. With these new homeopathic meds, I’ve been told that it often gets worse before it gets better because they’re doing a lot of killing of the Lyme and co-infections. That means there are a lot of toxins in your body that have to be removed. If you don’t detox constantly, you will feel like death is at your door. No, I’m not being overly dramatic. This is without question the hardest trial I’ve ever been through and I’ve been through some painful $#%& throughout my life.

As tough as I am, I’m literally struggling to make it through each workday. I’ll be painting a house and by 11am my left abdomen, ribs, and back are in so much pain that I have to stop and take an extended lunch break. At times, it literally feels like my left ribs are broken. Thank God I own my own company or I’d be fired. During my break, I’ll eat a little food, and then I put my seat back in my truck and try to get into a deep relaxed state, hoping to activate my parasympathetic nervous system. Sometimes I lay there and listen to a podcast that will help me learn more about my illness and how to deal with it better … or sometimes I’ll recite Scripture, pray, or just repeatedly speak positive/hopeful words of healing to myself. If I’m working close to home, I’ll actually come home for lunch, eat a little, and then lay on my living room floor for 30 minutes and pray. My prayers are typically something like this, “Oh Jesus, please help me to be able to finish the work day. Give me the strength I need. I can’t do this without You.” Then it’s back to work. Unfortunately, I can’t work a full 8-hour day at this stage in my healing journey. I’m typically packing up my gear to come home by 2 or 3pm because the pain has escalated so bad that I’ll easily get sloppy with my painting and I can’t do that.

When I come home, my typical routine is to take a hot epsom salt bath for 20 minutes then quickly rinse off in the shower with cold water. After that, I try to eat a little dinner and then I usually rest on the couch with a castor oil rag and a heating pad over my abdomen and ribs (it actually brings the pain down a few notches). If I have a bad headache, I take a Gabapentin and apply an essential oil mix upon my forehead, temples, neck, and behind my ears to try and bring the head pain down a few notches. If my brain feels foggy and inflamed, I’ll drink a glass of water with 20 drops of Burbur-Pinella. I’ve also been experimenting with a new CBD oil (too early to tell if it helps). The other night I was also dry brushing (it’s another form of detoxing … I was really hurting that night).

My G.I. doc has not given me a definitive cause as to why I’m dealing with daily left-sided abdominal pain and digestive issues. This left-sided abdominal pain began back in September of this year (2019). It’s had me in the ER two different times. He (the G.I. doc) said he’s not worried about it because all of the major tests came back “normal.” The only out of the ordinary thing he saw was a minuscule amount of blood in my stool, but he said he wasn’t concerned about that because it’s probably a hemorrhoid. I was like, “Okay? So then what’s causing this horrible chronic pain in my left abdomen and why is my digestion so jacked up?” He just said it could take six months to clear up and gave me a med that’s supposed to help with the abdomen pain. I don’t think it helps at all.

Based on what I’ve seen coming out of me over the last 3 months, I think I’m dealing with some sort of parasitic infection or intestinal candida (I’ll spare you the details and pics). I’ve treated for parasites two different times over the last three months, but I’ve heard that the little bastards are hard to kill. I’ve even been doing coffee enemas. I know. I know. You’re probably like, “What the heck? You put coffee up your butt?” That was my response to the idea of coffee enemas until I got super desperate and did the research. Then I saw the many health benefits … link here to learn.

So, to wrap this up … at this stage in my healing journey, I’m still in serious pain (daily), but every now and then I get some moments of relief and they’re freggin WONDERFUL! For instances, yesterday during my lunch break, I sat in my truck with the seat back and read a chapter of a new book (Mind Over Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin), and in that moment … I had very minimal pain, my heart and mind were calm, and my comprehension wasn’t a struggle. I thanked God for it. Yesterday, I also did a lite 30-minute ride on our peloton bike. In that moment, there was also minimal pain and I worked up a good sweat to detox. I thanked God for it. Later in the day, after my infrared sauna session (another way I detox), I was driving home and I literally felt my pain symptoms come down a few notches to the point where I could stop and get a hot cup of Starbucks coffee and enjoy a few sips (unfortunately, I can no longer finish a full cup of coffee because of what it does to my stomach and that’s been super frustrating because coffee is one of my loves). Anyway, I thanked God for that moment too.

Something I’m learning … When we’re healthy, we take the little things for granted, and then we enter the land of chronic pain/illness and find that those “little things” aren’t little. They’re HUGE! They’re the things that keep you going when life SUCKS! So don’t take the seemingly little things for granted. Treasure them and thank God for them because tomorrow they could be taken from you.

So that’s the latest with me you guys. Thanks for reading. Hope in some way you found some encouragement and motivation for your own battle. You’re not alone.

Battling with you,

Jason

Jason T. George is not a medical professional. The content of BattlingLyme.com is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read, seen, or heard from Jason T. George.

How I Deal with Morning Anxiety!

Mornings are often difficult. Lately I wake up and the first thing I feel (along with some sort of physical pain) is anxiety wanting to ruin things. I know many of you deal with the same. Here are a few things I do that help ….

#1. Remember that Cortisol levels are at their highest in the mornings. So relax, it will eventually die down.

#2. Don’t lay in bed and ponder all the “What if” thoughts. Just get up and move into the day.

#3. Drink a glass of filtered water with lemon. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

#4. Eat a little something. For me it’s usually just a banana. I can’t tolerate much more than that when I first wake up.

#5. Enjoy some hot tea or a little coffee (if you can tolerate it) while you read some positive/encouraging truth (I recommend Scripture but to each their own). I also do some praying or journaling. It helps me.

#6. Don’t start off the day googling symptoms or “cures” or “treatments” … in fact, I think it’s better to just stay away from all devices/media for the first 30 minutes of your day.

#7. Do some stretching for like 5 minutes.

#8. Don’t give that symptom or pain the attention it wants. Acknowledge it and move on with your day … “Oh, my chest hurts again and it makes me feel a little nervous. Oh well, I’ve already had tests and scans done on my heart and lungs. They were all normal. This is just part of my Lyme struggle or it’s just anxiety related.”

#9. Do some sort of exercise even if only for 5 minutes. Get your body moving and release those endorphins.

#10. Know you’re not alone in what you’re going through. At the very same time in the morning that you’re feeling it, there are so many of us feeling it too. Hang in there. Don’t quit. If it’s getting overwhelming, talk to a good friend who gets it or a therapist. I have to do it regularly.

Battling with you,

Jason

I’m not a medical professional. The content of BattlingLyme.com is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on BattlingLyme.com

Life’s Not Fair!

I recently heard a super frustrated person say, “Life’s not fair!” 

That person is spot on. Life’s not fair. And we must stop expecting it to be fair because that’s not reality. That’s actually a distorted view of the human condition (see John 16:33). The sooner we accept this reality (that life’s not fair), the better off we’ll be in overcoming pain, suffering, opposition, and disappointment. No one gets a free pass on those things. No one. It’s only a matter of time until life knocks you down and kicks you in the face repeatedly.

Many of us are under the illusion that we’re in control of so many things in life, but the truth is … we have little to no control over a large portion of what happens to us. The only thing we truly have control over is our response to what happens to us! 

Holocaust survivor, Viktor E. Frankl, says it best, “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation … The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” 

If you’ve never read his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, you need to. If you don’t like reading, then get the audio book. It’s one of the most insightful and inspiring books I’ve ever read.

Take a few moments and really ponder his words … “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation … The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”

Those words are powerful because of who wrote them. Frankl is not a mere philosopher or some sort of self-help guru who gave a TED Talk. He’s a man who courageously survived multiple Nazi concentration camps. From personal experience, he knew the dark depths of pain and suffering in ways that most of us never will (I’m telling you, read the book).

I’ve said it numerous times, but it’s worth saying again because so many of us need the reminder (including myself) … At times, life is going to suck (really bad)! That’s reality, and I believe the best thing we can do with that reality is embrace the suck, trust God through it, and make the most of it.

What good does all the fear, anxiety, anger, bitterness, envy, and complaining over life’s “unfairness” do for us? In my experience, it makes our situation worse. Over the last few years, when I’ve responded to my pain and suffering with fear, anxiety, anger, bitterness, envy, and/or complaining … it’s totally made me feel worse (mentally, emotionally, and even physically). It’s so easy to go down that rabbit hole. I hate it.

On the other hand, when I choose to do the unnatural thing and embrace the suck, trust God through it, and make the most of it … there’s an inner peace that can mysteriously show up. Don’t misunderstand me … my pain and problems don’t magically disappear when I embrace the suck, trust God through it, and make the most of it. I’m just saying that there have been times that I’ve experienced an inner peace when I’ve done those three things. It’s like I go from drowning in the crashing waves to riding them.

I recently experienced this mysterious inner peace when I was enjoying an evening on my bathroom floor (sarcasm). I was actually moaning in pain and considering heading to the ER. My anxiety was majorly elevated because of unresolved abdominal and rib pain that’s been my thorn in the flesh for over two months now. My Lyme Doc says it could be the result of a parasitic infection known as Babesia. Or it could be another type of parasite? Or it could be the fact that we are aggressively treating Lyme Disease with some hardcore homeopathic meds that can cause painful “herx reactions.” Who the heck knows?

All I do know is that in that moment on the bathroom floor, I chose to embrace the suck, trust God through it, and make the most of it. I began thanking God for every good and painful thing in my life that I could think of and I told Him that I trust Him through this pain. I then reminded myself that no matter what happens to me, I’m eternally secure in His omnipotent hands (see John 10:28-29). Then I began praying for several of my friends who are also physically and mentally suffering from Lyme Disease and co-infections (Sam, Dennis, Taco, and Hannah). I then decided to text two of them to see how they were doing. That’s what I mean by making the most of the suck. I turned my suck (pain and suffering) into something good.

It’s weird how it works, but when I get the attention off of my pain and suffering and I check on someone else who is suffering, it reduces my emotional pain and can even ease my physical pain. My chronic pain and suffering has definitely made me a more compassionate person (this is something I have majorly lacked in my Christian life).

Before you go thinking, “Wow, what a super saint Jason is!” Don’t. Because I’m not. Showing genuine concern and compassion without any selfish motive is not how I typically roll. I’m not as godly as I have often portrayed myself. Over the last year, I have become painfully aware of this fact.

Here’s some hardcore truth about me … negative, discouraging, and dark thoughts often invade my mind when I’m in the midst of pain and suffering, and sometimes they win the battle. I don’t always think “positive” or “godly” thoughts when all Hell is breaking loose. But let’s get real … no one does! It’s taken me a long time, but I’m slowly learning to let my negative, discouraging, and dark thoughts come and go. I don’t have to allow them to become permanent fixtures in my mind. God has given me the power to replace them with better thoughts (see Philippians 4:8 and 4:13). It’s not always easy. It doesn’t come natural. I have to work at it continually.

One last thing that I’ve been learning that I wanted to share with you is that I’m also really trying to stop expecting everyone to treat me the way that I want to be treated. That’s also a distorted view of the human condition. The Master simply tells us to treat others the way that we want them to treat us (see Matthew 7:12). That’s the code we’re supposed to live by. Just do that and expect nothing in return. Sounds so simple, but it’s not. I’ve really been trying to lower my expectations of how people should treat me (even with my family and friends). I believe that’s going to help my life go a whole lot better. Just focus on treating them the way I want to be treated without expecting anything in return. Period.

That’s all I got for now. Enjoy your weekend.

Battling with you,

Jason

Learning to Live with Chronic Pain!

Today was hard. Very hard. It was one of those days where I had to convince myself to NOT go to the Emergency Room. Like many of you reading this, daily I’m in pain … and my pain migrates. That means one week it can be head pain. The next week it can be rib pain. The week after that it can be abdominal pain. It can even change hour to hour. In my battle against late-stage lyme disease (and all the co-infections that came with it), I endure all sorts of annoying pains … joints, muscles, head, face, neck, ribs, spine, stomach, intestines, throat, lungs, heart, and ears (I probably left something out). It’s been crazy!

For the last few years, I’ve been doing all I can to heal from this horrible disease and rid my life of the chronic pain it brings me. Like many of you, there’ve been countless doctor visits, specialists, tests, meds, vitamins, supplements, herbs, essential oils, chiropractors, lyme specialists, acupuncture, massage therapy, infrared sauna, epsom salt baths, heating pads, CBD oil, dietary changes, prayer, meditation, repeat … AHHHHHH!!!!!

And guess what?

I’m still in pain.

I’m in pain right now as I type this.

Every single day I’m enduring some sort of physical pain … and there can also be mental pain. For instances, lately, my anxiety has dramatically increased. Yesterday it flared up for no reason as I sat talking with a friend and his wife at their kitchen table. Thankfully, I contained it. They didn’t even know, but I left their home super frustrated over it.

The increase in anxiety could be the result of the new treatment protocol I’m on … it can cause severe herx reactions (I’m currently working through the DesBio Babesia Treatment).

I was warned that this treatment gets rough with vials 2 thru 4, and I just recently finished vial #4 (ugh!). I’m also taking other supplements, herbs, and essential oils that can also cause a herx reaction. Heck, who knows? Maybe my anxiety has dramatically increased just because I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with all of it? I thought I’d be healed by now, but I’m not and it’s hard to accept and make the best of it.

Somedays I’m okay with it, but somedays … it does overwhelm me, and I get really frustrated, discouraged, and anxious. Today was another one of those days. I’m just being real with you. Chronic pain gets old. You just want relief. You just want to feel “normal” again. I totally understand that life in this broken world is full of pain … we get sick … we break a bone … we lose a loved one … we get the blues … I get that! But chronic pain is infinitely different. Chronic pain just won’t go away (at least, not yet). It greets me when I wake up in the morning and it tucks me in at night. It’s my constant companion, and I’m trying to figure out how to be the best version of me through all of it.

Daily I pray for God’s help and healing. Not just for myself, but for several of my friends who are also suffering with Lyme Disease and various co-infections. When you don’t see God answering your prayers, you begin thinking He’s not listening or maybe He’s just flat out ignoring you. I’ve battled all those thoughts/feelings. Nevertheless, I choose to trust Him through this. Faith is often a fight. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

That’s all I got in me for now. I need to go rest.

Battling with you,

Jason