This Summer while attending a fancy networking event, I heard a featured speaker say, “Authenticity is hot right now.”
Hot? Right now? Being authentic is a trend? I had to giggle to myself. Well, if that is the case, I got that marketing pearl covered.
Authenticity is one of the gifts that comes from having been through chronic illness — no time or energy for BS or posturing. For better or worse, I tell it like it is. So in that spirit... here's a story:
The next day I noticed my tooth was broken — a molar. Lower left. Hmmm. That’s odd, I thought. A closer look I could see the filling had broken off and there was significant black underneath, and I could taste it. Gross!
I’ve lost 3 teeth on this Lyme journey (or whatever you want to call it) back to self and wellness. And I've got to say, I have been very motivated to have a different outcome this time.
I managed to get into the dentist the next day. He didn’t have time to work on me so he temporarily patched the hole right on top of the decay. Lovely.
That was Thursday.
By Saturday I was having night-sweats, tachycardia, fevers and urinating copious amounts every half hour—and hideous head, neck and jaw pain. I went back in on Monday. My resting heart-rate was 115 and BP was low-normal and I had a fever. He said I wasn’t suitable to work on. X-ray was normal.
There I was down the old familiar rabbit hole of "We don’t understand this." (And borrowing money to cover the insane costs of doing nothing.)
Since that time I have seen 4 more dentists, a Lyme literate MD, and a neurological chiropractor. Three of the dentists said that my fever was a coincidence and unrelated to the tooth. Marc Weill and Dr. Beth McDougall, knowing my history — disagreed.
With all this going on, I thought about canceling this Fall Sessions because I am so far behind on promotions, but when I looked at the tooth meridian chart and saw that this tooth, “number 19,” corresponds to the lung and large intestine meridian (the organs associated with the Fall and our session), I took it as a sign.
A sign to dig my heels in deep and walk the talk. I teach self-care; now I need to use what I know. It’s up to me. Since that first day I have been vigilant with self-care and determined to get through this.
I started daily/hourly nourishing broths, detox baths, oil pulling with ozone gel, hydration/electrolytes, lymphatic drainage tinctures, deep breathing, immune boosting supplements, cell salts, Vitamin D and K2, chlorophyll, therapeutic mushrooms, colloidal silver and most importantly, fierce awareness of the present moment — noticing when I go into stories of the past and future. Instead, I tell my body over and over...
"I believe in you. You can do this. I love you”.
Yesterday I went to have the tooth filled. I was so sick. Freezing and sweating. My skin color was gray and I was urinating every 20 minutes. Heart like a bunny.
The dentist said, “We can skip it if you don’t feel up to it. The filling is small enough and I don’t think it’s associated with your other symptoms.”
I said, "I didn’t feel like this a week ago... I think it’s associated. Let’s try.”
So we went for it.
Oh and PS, I don’t use any Novocaine. And he only gave me oxygen to breathe, no Nitrous.
As he started drilling deeper, he said, “Gotta admit Dana, this is a lot deeper than I thought”
“I told you!" I mumbled under the dental dam.
He said, “I’m sorry we have to push through it."
I surrendered. I met the sound of the drill with my own hum. And when it got faster, I hummed louder.
In these situations I turn into a Zen master. I go eternal. No resistance. The pain was ridiculous, but my awareness of the space around it made it small. I was the space. The doc said, "I would be crying if I were you. You are amazingly strong.”
Yeah, duh!!! Yet another skill/gift gleaned from this journey. I have a warrior badge after 17 years dealing with Lyme and all of this stuff, but without a doubt, this one should have earned me my black-belt.
When he was finished he sat me up to go PEE!!! But I couldn’t stand. The nurse assistant gently walked me to the bathroom and said in her beautiful Latin accent, “You were so good. I couldn't believe it. And honey, you look so much better, I see your eyes are clear now. And feel... your hands are warm. You were so cold and sick before.”
Something had left me. It was like coming back into myself. One dentist/surgeon thought I was reacting to the temporary dental resin material — yeah, that’s really a thing and a big deal.
Either way, the moral of the story is to keep going and trust yourself. One size doesn't fit all. Don’t let them tell you about your body!! We are the canaries, the sensitives, and we help to teach that Medical care can't be a fixed model because our bodies and world are dynamic.
I said to the doctor when I collected myself, “So you thought I was just a high strung/high maintenance woman didn’t you?”
He said, “How’d you know?”
I smiled… "And now?”
He bowed his head and said, “I am humbled, I don’t live in your body."
I am not out of the woods yet, and it’s still unknown if the tooth will make it. There is a chance that I will have to have this tooth extracted during the session. But here’s the thing: the self-care (keeping the body strong) is the same.
Thank you for reading this. I teach by telling stories and using my life as an example. I hope you found something of value for yourself.
The past few years have been very stressful for me in my personal life. And stress of course, will demineralize you faster than anything like your um... teeth.
Like you, sometimes I need a kick in the butt to make myself priority and get a head of steam on my health. And when I fully commit, I’m always so grateful and amazed at how much we can do with our self-care tools.
As I sit here with Essential Oil soaked gauze in my mouth, I am thinking of you and inviting you to have a virtual self-care slumber party with me. Let’s eat good food, rest, breathe, laugh and learn.
Let’s give what we've got and love every second of it.
Oh, the holidays. A lovely, heartfelt and beautiful time of year (mostly).
Gathering with family and friends can be very comforting during the holidays, but it can also be very emotionally triggering!
When you have been chronically ill for so many years, there is a level of burn out within the family and community. What's more, friends and family don’t understand the illness because, quite honestly, WE don’t totally understand the illness either!
Maybe family feels like it’s all in your head because they see you having a good day but then crashing after an emotional interaction. They can then say: “Oh, when you get emotional you start to have symptoms so… it’s an emotional issue." Hmmmm... Maybe... but they are only half right.
Everyone on the planet has a physical reaction to emotional stress. Everyone. Our bodies go into "fight or flight" response with both real or imagined stresses. The difference for those of us with chronic illness and sensitivities is when we go into fight or flight, we have zero reserves to bounce back.
When we experience emotional upset, our nervous system/endocrine system cascade downward tanking our immunity allowing pathogens to grow and we become symptomatic again.
Overcoming the triggers
It’s best to diffuse the possible triggers in the situation by telling family members about how you are feeling right up front. Tell them that you love them. Tell them that you are having a challenging day and that you can take care of yourself.
Ideally something like this:
"Hi (Mom, Dad, Friend, relative) I am having a really challenging day today. Just want you to know that I may be up and down and if I have a tone, I’m sorry. I love you. I know how to take care of myself. It’s not your responsibility and I don't need you to fix it. Just looking for your love and support. I’ll visit as long as I can. I love seeing you."
Telling people upfront and letting them off the hook before either of you gets triggered can be very powerful. If you need help, be very specific: "Could you pick up something from the store?... Help me vacuum or give me a ride?... etc). Speak clearly and confidently. Stay out of speaking like the victim. That will only trigger them.
If they react poorly, ask yourself what you wished they would say instead. Give that to yourself and walk away.
We have to remember that it can be excruciating to be around a sick person that you love. Our loved ones want us to be better. They miss how we used to be. And they feel helpless because they can’t fix it (and maybe a little bit guilty). You feeling sick is a big loss for them too. Do your best to listen. They have a side in this.
Also, remember that it’s possible that your illness reminds them of their own fragility and health issues that perhaps they are ignoring.
Many people are in denial of their own unhealthy habits, and sometimes they can feel inconvenienced by your special needs. Oh well. Stay strong: "No, I can’t eat gluten. Still. Thank you though. It looks great”
It's a good idea to arrive early and leave early so you don’t dip too much (especially if you're sensitive to groups of people and your auntie's perfume!).
Remember humor— it’s your greatest tool. Keep it light. And obviously, avoiding long discussions about your health and politics would be wise. Try sharing your current favorite funny youtube videos instead.
And finally, if despite all your efforts it all goes haywire, then know you did your best and you can laugh about it with like-minded people. Our new Fall Sessions is open now -- you can sneak in here and meet others like you.
If you decide to sit out the holiday chaos, we hope you can enjoy the peace and the quiet sparkle in the air. There is so much to be grateful for.
1 tsp. vanilla bean powder (ground pure vanilla beans)
a few shakes of fennel powder
We recommend spices from Spicely because all imported spices are required to go through a sterilization process before being sold in the United States. Most spice companies sterilize using synthetic chemicals or radiation. Spicely Organics uses a process called steam sterilization, which sterilizes food products without adding any chemicals or hazardous materials.
Chai Spice Mix Directions:
Put all spices into a coffee grinder.
Grind for about 30 seconds - 1 minute until the mixture is a really fine powder.
Once you make this Chai Spice Mix, you can use it in many ways:
Enjoy as a tea with your favorite milk (see recipe below)
2 T. Favorite milk -- dairy, coconut, hemp or almond
Stevia drops to sweeten to taste
Easy Creamy Chai Directions:
Steep a strong cup of tea.
Blend 1 tsp Chai spice, 1 T grass-fed butter or ghee, 2 T favorite milk and stevia to taste.
Blend and enjoy.
Note: There will be spices settled at the bottom. To avoid this... run tea mixture though a fine strainer before drinking.
Way 3: Whole Spice Chai
(This is a simple, one-cup recipe)
Whole Spice Chai Ingredients:
4 cardamom pods
6 peppercorns (optional)
1 star anise
1 inch cinnamon stick
slice of fresh ginger (or more to taste)
1 tea bag (of your choice: Tulsi, Horsetail, Black, etc)
1 C. water
1 C. favorite milk-- coconut, hemp, almond or full fat organic grass-fed milk (if you can handle it--yum!)
Stevia to sweeten
Whole Spice Chai Directions:
Crush spices with a mortar and pestle or back of a knife.
Put water and spices into a pot and boil for a few minutes until it smells deliciously fragrant.
Lower heat to simmer.
Open tea bag (or throw in the whole tea bag) and add milk.
Simmer another 5-7 mins.
Pour through a fine mesh strainer, add stevia and enjoy! Super yums!
What Is Chai Tea? (and healing properties)
Originating in India, Chai Tea is typically a spiced black tea mix. The spices can vary, but it usually contains a combination of cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, cloves, fennel, ginger, nutmeg, and vanilla. The base is traditionally a black tea, but decaffeinated, or herbal teas can also be used.
Each spice contains potent health benefits:
Cinnamon - antifungal, antibacterial, it can also reduce the risk of diabetes — it blocks insulin from getting into cells, and can lower blood pressure and prevent cell damage for diabetics.
Cardamom - anti-inflammatory, it relives muscle spasms, and can treat asthma, and other respiratory ailments.
Black Pepper - antioxidant
Cloves - anti-parasitic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, analgesic, it is widely used to soothe gum and tooth pain.
Ginger - anti-inflammatory, it can soothe upset stomaches and diarrhea, it’s helpful for arthritis and heart disease, and reduces the risk of colon cancer.
Looking back at my time on tour with U2, filming Under Our Skin, and getting in with Dr Klinghardt for treatment, I never let Lyme stop me. In 2005, a year after FINALLY being properly diagnosed... Lyme wasn't going away, but my dreams were. I set out to change that.
July 27, 2005:
After almost a year to the date of being unemployed, I decide to take the job on tour with U2. Here's my answer to the email asking about my availability... (click on the letter to zoom in)
September 13, 2005:
Four days on the road with U2 and feeling the shock... we're not in Kansas anymore!
Oh how truly "unglamorous" touring can be... (click on the letter to zoom in)
November 2, 2005:
Mid-way through the U2 tour and the pain is as loud as the music!!!
Reaching out to my ONE Lyme friend, Shelley... (click on the letter to zoom in)
November 22, 2005:
Email to Andy Abrahams Wilson after our first interview for UNDER OUR SKIN.
(and the band's priest prays for me)...
November 30, 2005:
My plea to get into see Dr. Klinghardt so I can go around the world with U2. Yes, I dream big.
(click on the letter to zoom in)
January 1, 2006:
Happy New Year's!
Coming home from U2... now what?
July 18, 2006:
8 months after my request, I finally get an appointment to see Dr. Klinghardt!
Years of recovery.
June 15, 2013:
7 years later, I spend a week at a meditation retreat praying for my partners
and allies for my next adventure.
Upon my return home, I am introduced to Brent Martin (through email),
and Lyme Less Live More is born!
The Road happened, The Film happened, Klinghardt happened, and so many more amazing surprises, and NOW a Lyme Less Live More community is HAPPENING!
Dana Walsh (featured in the Lyme documentary UNDER OUR SKIN) and Brent Martin, founders of Lyme Less Live More, identified a giant gap while recovering from Lyme Disease -- What to do in-between doctor visits?
Now, with the help of their expert faculty Dana and Brent teach a multi-faceted approach to recovering health that includes self-care, healthy mindset, and conscious awareness.