The First Steps For Living With A Chronic Illness

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One of the worst times in anyone’s life is when they are told they are suffering from a lifelong disease. This is not the kind of news that anyone ever wants to hear. But if you are told this, your most important concern will be to try to find a way to deal with it as best you can. To find a new normal.

The truth is this can take some effort – it can take a long time to even get used to the situation, let alone work out what your next steps are. But if you are in this process at the moment, we hope that the following information will help you get a better sense of what you need to do next.

Action Steps For Living With A Chronic Illness

1. Gather Your Support Network

No matter what it is that you are diagnosed with, you will need a support system to get through it. In some instances, you might need people to help you with even fundamental self-care issues. For others with other illnesses, it could simply be a case of needing a little emotional support from your family.

Whatever it is that you need, it’s essential to work it out and gather everyone together to fully appreciate the enormity of what is going on. If you think you will need some kind of home care, then you should have that arranged as soon as possible. If you need financial help at all, then get the ball rolling there.

Looking to your support network early on will make sure that you do not worry unduly – and that’s important for your state of mind.

2. Keep Your Mindset Straight

One of the toughest challenges here is ensuring that you keep your emotions in check. It is a good idea to work towards accepting your illness, so it’s essential to feel your emotions fully from the start. But you need to find ways to deal with the inevitable emotional backlash of the diagnosis, as this might take some time to recover within you.

Again, this is a situation where having a good support network can really help, so make sure you feel comfortable and safe expressing yourself to those people around you. Keep your head straight, and you will find it makes it easier to deal with – even if you have fears about the future as well.

3. Prepare For The Future

It is likely that your life is about to change in some profound ways. The more prepared you are for those changes, the more likely it is you will be able to cope with them head-on when they arise. Change is inherent to life, but especially when you have a serious ongoing medical condition.

It is likely that your workload will change, your love life will change, your social life will change. Know that this is normal. You are not alone. It’s a good idea to try to accept this as early as you can so that you can then work towards doing what you can with what you have.

Also, be encouraged that many people with chronic illness say that going through the struggles taught them valuable life lessons. It caused them to reflect on their priorities and spend more time with family and friends, or pursue interests they didn’t make time for before.

Do you or someone you love have a chronic illness? What tips can you share that could help someone who has just been diagnosed with a chronic condition?

Share your thoughts below.

For more on chronic illness, you may want to check out:

Connect With Me Below:

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21 Simple Strategies To Fight Lyme Disease Naturally

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Since I became extremely ill and bedridden due to undiagnosed and untreated Lyme disease over 5 years ago I’ve been on a quest to learn as much as I can about being healthy and share what I’m learning with others. This blog has given me an amazing outlet to do just that and I’m thankful for that opportunity!

Treatments, Appointments, Physical Therapy And Supplements

It was just a couple of years ago when I became so sick I had no choice but to quit the job I loved teaching young children in Special Education. I was halfway towards earning my Master’s Degree in Special Education in Autism studies through the University Of Missouri. Needless to say, it was a difficult transition for me because I wanted to contribute and help people, but was so sick all I could do was lie in bed, do my treatments, take my supplements and force down the healthy protein shakes.

All the while my body continued wasting away, my clothes hanging on my frame.

My rapid decline from being an active, healthy mom to four young kids to barely being able to roll over in bed wasn’t something this strong-willed girl was able to accept easily.

Thankfully, the love of my family, the care of my wonderful Lyme Literate doctors, appropriate Lyme treatments, physical therapy to offset the muscle wasting, healthy foods, and lots of prayer have helped me grow stronger and improve.

Although I’m nowhere near “well” yet, one day I hope and pray I will be.

However, it is a slow healing process when you’re dealing with chronic Lyme. Many people reach out to me each week and ask me what they can do to grow healthier and help their body heal from the Lyme.

In response to that popular question, here are 21 essential strategies you can use to help fight Lyme disease.

Natural Strategies To Fight Lyme Disease

  1.  Eat anti-inflammatory foods including plenty of vegetables, bone broth, organic meat, coconut, raw dairy, nuts and seeds. Many Lyme experts warn against eating fruit due to the high sugar content, but fruit is also high in antioxidants. Berries, lemons, limes, peaches, apples, kiwis and avocados are fairly low in sugar so use your own judgement here.
  2. Address sleep issues. This is essential when you’re dealing with Lyme. Many of us have insomnia. Others can sleep all day. Lyme can cause many people to feel extreme chronic fatigue so it’s important to get extra rest and make sleep a priority.
  3. Eliminate toxins. Here are 15 Simple Strategies To Detox Naturally I hope will help.
  4. Deal with emotions. Managing emotional stress in your life is so important. I’ve found journalling helps with this. You might also like to start a blog and write about your experiences. Writing can be therapeutic! Some people find that talking things out with a friend helps them process the range of emotions they’re feeling.
  5. Supplement your diet. Consider taking high-quality supplements that are especially needed for Lyme disease patients. Some basics to start with include Magnesium, B-Complex, Turmeric  and CoQ10.
  6. Sweat in a sauna. But please use caution. Don’t overdo it! I‘ve learned this the hard way and it’s not fun. After researching portable saunas for a couple of years, my sweet husband bought me this one for Christmas and it works great!
  7. Move a little every day. Yoga and Pilates are great, but not for everyone. I love taking walks and breathing in the fresh air now but I wasn’t always able to. If you’re stuck inside try some slow, gentle stretches. And if you can do more and your doctor says it’s okay, then go for it!
  8. Avoid processed junk food, sugar and gluten. Our bodies are not designed to handle all the chemicals in processed food. And, because Lyme disease is an inflammatory condition it is best to avoid sugar and gluten.
  9. Try grounding.  Earthing, or grounding, is simply having direct contact with the Earth’s surface with your bare feet. The grass, dirt, sand at the beach and even unpainted concrete serve as conductive surfaces. You can also buy earthing mats and sheets for your bed. According to Dr. Stephen Sinatra, earthing can reverse inflammation in the body. He recommends earthing 40 minutes daily. You may want to learn more about earthing in What Is Earthing Or Grounding?
  10. Get plenty of sunshine. Experts recommend exposing the legs and arms to the sun for 10 to 15 minutes per day. Getting this sun exposure causes the body to produce Vitamin D naturally.
  11. Smile and laugh. Whether you like watching crazy cat videos on YouTube or the latest episode of your favorite T.V. sitcom, smiling and laughing does a body good! You can check out some of the benefits of smiling here in 6 Unexpected Benefits Of Smiling: Enhance Your Face Value
  12. Drink lemon waterLemons are full of Vitamin C, which is great for the immune system. For more, you may want to read about these 9 Surprising Benefits Of Lemon Water .
  13. Buy a water filter to remove harmful impurities from your drinking water.
  14. Protect against EMFs. Exposure to EMFs, or electromagnetic fields, are especially damaging to those of us with chronic illnesses. And, unfortunately, they’re everywhere. Computers, hairdryers, refrigerators, vacuums, irons, cell phones, WiFi, fax machines and much more. Here are some tips to protect yourself from EMFs.
  15. Get a blue light filter app on your phone. The one I use is Twilight (for Android) and it works great.
  16. Consider taking an herbal protocol, such as  Dr. Lee Cowden’s Lyme protocol at Nutramedix or Byron White.
  17. Do coffee enemas. I know, TMI…but this is definitely worth looking into. You can learn more here: 5 Reasons To Try Coffee Enemas.
  18. Take probiotics and eat probiotic-rich foods such as kefir, yogurt and fermented vegetables and komucha.
  19. Take organic whole leaf Stevia extract. A recent study showed Stevia leaf extract killed Lyme bacteria better than antibiotics in a test tube. (1) That said, if you’re planning to treat Lyme with Stevia please take it slow! I learned this the hard way and had a brutal herx for several days. According to JennasLymeBlog, “The recommended dose of organic whole leaf stevia is 20 drops two times per day.” However,  I started with less than half the recommend dose and herxed like nobody’s business so please use caution!
  20. Take warm epsom salt baths. I never used to take time for a bath. I was more of a shower type of gal. But my life post-Lyme has been full of hot, epsom salt baths. Why? Because the salts really help to soothe the pain in my joints and muscles, the warm water is relaxing (and I get to catch up on my reading on the Kindle app). Also, the warm water is great for providing a natural detox, if you sweat that is. Just make sure not to make the bath too hot or it could cause you to herx, which is never pleasant and could be dangerous.
  21. Use essential oils. Make sure you buy high-quality, therapeutic-grade oils. There are different brands and price points. I have several go-to oils for my Lyme symptoms. My favorites are: peppermint for headaches, chronic fatigue, nausea and infections; lemon in my water and for air purification;  lavender to help me sleep;  ginger for nausea; oregano to kill Lyme bacteria; cinnamon bark as an anti-inflammatory…just to name a few.

The Takeaway

Lyme is a complicated disease which includes a long list of symptoms that can worsen over time if it is not treated.

In addition to the antibiotics traditionally used to treat Lyme disease, practicing natural strategies can help the body heal and grow stronger.

Do you know someone with Lyme Disease or other tick-borne illness?

What strategies do you use to help fight Lyme Disease?

Let me know what you think below in the comment section!

You can read more about my experience with Lyme disease in: Undiagnosed And Suffering With Lyme Disease: I Felt Like I Was Dying

 If you enjoyed this post, you may want to read:

Connect With Me Below:

Pinterest — /LoriGeurin
Facebook — /LoriGeurinBlog
Twitter — @LoriGeurin
Instagram — @LoriGeurin
Bloglovin — lorigeurin
Email —

This post contains affiliate links. And you can read our Affiliate Policy here.

Finally, the information provided in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat, prevent, diagnose or cure any disease or health problem.

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Undiagnosed And Suffering With Lyme Disease: I Felt Like I Was Dying

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It’s been 5 years since I was bit by tiny ticks which infected me with Lyme bacteria.  Like the hundreds of thousands of people who get Lyme disease each year, it changed my life radically.

For several months, just like Avril Levigne, I felt like I was dying.

I went from being a healthy and active young mom to 4, to being barely able to walk a few yards to my mailbox. Everyday tasks such as taking a shower and getting dressed became incredibly difficult.

And it all happened so fast.

I realized I had taken my good health for granted, something I’ll not do again.

I was soon able to empathize with friends and family who also were dealing with chronic pain and chronic illness.

Because now I was living it too.

The multiple doctors and specialists I went to couldn’t figure out what was causing my rapidly deteriorating symptoms.

Because of this, I was untreated for 18 very long months.

What Is Lyme Disease Anyway?

When Lyme bacteria, or Borrelia Burgdorferi, has free rein over your body for this long without being treated the damage can cause destruction to every organ and system in the body. This includes the heart, brain, neurological and immune systems.

Lyme is called “the great imitator”. This is because the symptoms are like so many other diseases and conditions. These include Multiple Sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome, and many others.

I repeatedly asked the doctors if my illness could be due to the tick bites I got at my home after being in the tall grasslands and forest area behind our house. I became extremely sick shortly after discovering the ticks and thought this was something that should definitely be investigated.

My Lyme diagnosis came much later.

“You Can’t Get Lyme Disease In Missouri.”

suffering with Lyme
Lyme disease has been reported in all 50 states.

Unfortunately, I was told, “You can’t get Lyme disease in Missouri.”

At the time, I was naive to believe that doctors are usually right. Of course, like the rest of us, they are only human.

And, out of necessity, I’ve learned how to advocate for myself as a patient.

I started doing my homework.

And asking the right questions.

The teacher in me. And the life-long learner that I am…It didn’t take long to figure out that, in this case, a wait and see approach was not appropriate.

With Lyme disease it never is.

I persisted in my quest for answers. Finally, the proper tests were given that proved they were tragically wrong.

You can indeed get Lyme disease in Missouri. And I had it.

Suffering With Lyme Disease, YouTube & Forgiveness

I did in fact have Lyme and another potentially deadly tick-borne illness, tularemia.

Since then I have met many caring physicians who are indignant when they hear I was given the run around for so long without proper treatment, especially when the doctors knew I was bitten by ticks and my health continued to go downhill so quickly.

At the time, my primary care physician simply told me that I had “tick fever”. (I was never clear about what that is.)

Later, I returned to this doctor because I wasn’t getting better. I was, in fact, getting much worse. He said I looked stressed (perhaps from the constant pain and insomnia?).

Then he suggested I watch a youtube video about the benefits of walking.

In my naivety, and my strong desire to do everything possible to get healthy, I did as he instructed. Unfortunately, I was unable to walk further than my driveway due to severe air hunger, heart palpitations and extreme weakness and fatigue….all symptoms of Lyme disease!

I don’t believe these doctors meant to harm me even though going so long without a diagnosis did just that. I believe they wanted to help me and were doing the best they knew how with the knowledge and tools they had.

Although I’ve had to work through some difficult and strong feelings like people sometimes do in life, I have no ill will towards them. (For more on this, please feel free to check out The Shocking Truth About Forgiveness And Your Health.)

I do, however, hope that these doctors (and all medical professionals) make concerted efforts to learn more and keep up on the latest about Lyme disease so others don’t have to suffer needlessly too.

If this happened to me it could happen to you or to your loved ones. And I would never wish this horrible disease on anyone! That’s why it’s important to me to share with you to help prevent other people from going through what I, and thousands of others, have.

Finding A New Normal After Lyme Disease

suffering with Lyme
Making healthy choices, managing stressors and listening to your body can help you deal with chronic illness.

Although life is very different for me now, I’m finding a new normal and constantly working to learn more and become as healthy as possible.

I’m thankful for a supportive family and friends.

In some ways life is actually better because I’ve learned to slow down and bask in the moment. Whereas before I was always multitasking, running from one event to the next.

I’m learning to live in the moment. 🙂

Although I lived a pretty healthy life before, I’m much more conscious of making healthy choices now.

I’m more in touch with my body now. I (usually) don’t push past my limits like I used to. (Bad habits are hard to break.)

I also try to better deal with stress in my life instead of ignoring it.

Healing has been a gradual process. But I’m thankful for every gain and positive change that has occurred.

I’m not well, but I’m stronger than I was a year ago. And  that’s definitely a positive in my book!

The Takeaway

Suffering with Lyme disease, then finally getting a diagnosis has been a prolonged and painful process. But God has brought me through and strengthened me through the suffering and trials, and He can do the same for you.

If you have a chronic illness, don’t give up!

Do you have a chronic illness? Can you relate? What tips can you share to help others? 

Please share your comments and questions below in the comment section. I love hearing from you!

 You might like to read the following for help and encouragement if you or someone you love has a chronic illness:

Connect With Me Below:

Pinterest — /LoriGeurin
Facebook — /LoriGeurinBlog
Twitter — @LoriGeurin
Instagram — @LoriGeurin
Bloglovin — lorigeurin
Email —

This post contains affiliate links. And you can read our Affiliate Policy here.

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Top 10 Ways To Prevent Lyme Disease (And Other Tick-Borne Diseases)

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The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid outdoor spaces where deer ticks live and breed. This includes tall grass, bushy and forest areas.

But for many of you that simply isn’t realistic, or what you want to do.

So for you who like to venture out and explore this great big world (myself included), it is essential to know how to protect yourself from ticks.

How To Avoid Ticks And Prevent Lyme Disease

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Wear long pants tucked into long socks and boots to keep ticks out.
  1. Wear light-colored clothing. This makes ticks easier to spot so you can get rid of them before they reach your skin.
  2. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Button all the buttons so sleeves are tight around the wrists.
  3. Tuck pants into long socks and boots. This prevents ticks from crawling up your legs.
  4. Stay in the middle of trails. Don’t venture off into high grasses or forest areas because ticks are more prevalent there.
  5. Maintain your yard and keep the grass cut and hedges trimmed. Here is a great article to help you tick-proof your yard.
  6. Spray your clothing and shoes with tick repellent. Typically I recommend natural products, but you have to weigh the benefits and risks for yourself. And everyone has their own opinion about this. So you have to decide what works best for you. In the past I’ve made my own essential oil repellents and tried a variety of natural repellents and personally haven’t found them to be as effective. Perhaps I haven’t found the right one. But, based on my situation, I’ve come to the following conclusion: Because I’ve been infected with Lyme twice, I want to reduce the chances of my loved ones getting sick and my being reinfected as much as possible. I just recently overcame my fear of going out into my backyard again. (And trust me, that fear is real. And when you have children it is heightened.) Currently, I’m using a Deet Repellent when I’m in areas I believe ticks may be lurking. (Even though I don’t like the chemicals, I hate the Lyme more.) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a handy online tool to help you select the repellent that is best for you and your family. I also ordered an Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus repellent for a more natural option to repel mosquitoes for when I’m not in tick-infested areas. You can find it here: Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent. (Like I said earlier, I generally recommend natural products. So if you’re wanting to go all-natural the next tip is for you. Just keep in mind that this option may not be as effective as some of the chemical options.)
  7. Some essential oils that may deter ticks include lemon, citronella, eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, tea tree, geranium, catnip, clove and lavender. Essential oils are quite potent, so mix a few drops with a carrier oil (such as jojoba or olive) and apply to your skin. Or, you may prefer to make your own tick spray. The following video shows how to make a simple essential oil tick spray using only 3 ingredients.
  8. Check your body for ticks. Especially after spending time outdoors. And especially if you have a pet that lives indoors. Use a full-length mirror to check your entire body, taking special care to check the warmest areas, including: under the arms, under where elastic clothing straps have been, inside the belly button (yep, even there), the scalp and all hair, behind the knees, inside the elbows, between the legs, around the waist and inside and around the ears.
  9. Check clothing for ticks. Put clothes in the dryer on high heat to kill ticks.
  10. Check your pets for ticks. Remove any ticks that you find.

How To Remove A Tick

Don’t squeeze or squash the tick. Also, don’t burn it or cover it with petroleum jelly.

First, use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to remove the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull the tick straight out.

Then disinfect the entire area.

Save the tick in a ziplock bag or bottle for testing. Label the bag with your name, the date you removed the tick, the site of the tick bite, and how long you believe the tick was attached.

Learn about free tick testing.

Over the next few days and weeks be vigilant and watch for symptoms of Lyme disease. If you develop rashes or flu-like symptoms do not overlook them.

Go to the doctor and report the tick bite and symptoms. 

You can find a Lyme Doctor in your area through this link.

The Takeaway

There are many steps you can take to protect yourself from ticks and Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. Furthermore, wearing long pants and boots, staying in the middle of trails and avoiding tall grass, shrubs and forest areas are key to prevention.

What tips would you add to this list?

Please share your comments and questions in the comment section below. I love hearing from you!

For more on Lyme disease, you may want to check out:

Connect With Me Below:

Pinterest — /LoriGeurin
Facebook — /LoriGeurinBlog
Twitter — @LoriGeurin
Instagram — @LoriGeurin
Bloglovin — lorigeurin
Email —

This post contains affiliate links. You can read our Affiliate Policy here.

Finally, the information provided in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat, prevent, diagnose or cure any disease or health problem.

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