Guest Author: Jacob Stehlar (pictured in the middle with his brothers)
My name is Jacob. I’m 24 and have had the clinical diagnosis of Chronic Lyme Disease.
Here briefly is my story of diagnosis.
Overview of Diagnosis
The past year has been hell for me. I’ve had to quit school, I can’t work and everyday I deal with sickness. I was on the drug Cymbalta up until summer 2015. I was having urinary problems, heart palpitations, forgetfulness, and slight dyslexia on the drug and it was getting worse. I had been tossed around anti-depressants since I was 11, with none of them helping much until I tried Cymbalta. It helped for a few years. Then I started to have less and less energy to do things that I enjoyed, such as wrestling, football, and weight lifting. But I just stuck with it even though I didn’t feel good. This past summer I weaned off my medicine under my doctor. It was hell, I felt very angry, sad, racing thoughts, and so many other things. But then I started to feel more human, and I started to laugh and enjoy things more even though I had low energy. I started feeling more human and intune with myself, because for so long the anti-depressant drug was making me become apathetic and numb. I still was getting ill though. I had terrible brain fog. And my dyslexia symptoms were getting worse, where I couldn’t even read which used to be my past time. I gave up and tried starting Cymbalta again in January so I could start college again. I had been working on my bachelor’s degree in environmental science. It made me so nauseous I was vomiting for 2 days. So I stopped. This whole time I had been researching natural depression cures, and was trying lots of different things with not much success. I finally saw a naturopathic doctor in Late February. I told her all my symptoms, and I was surprised she wanted to test me for Lyme disease. I always thought with Lyme you get a rash, go to the doctor and get antibiotics for 2-4 weeks. That is not the case, only 40-50% actually show signs of the rash. And most tests done for Lyme are not very accurate. I started her protocol and did feel weaker during the detox time, and detoxing made my depression worse. I haven’t stuck to the protocol she gave me to a T. Especially with diet which is the most important thing. Because partly, I didn’t fully believe her, with depression in my family I thought it was just that. Which is what I’ve been told all my life.
Continue reading “Jacob’s Lyme Story and Fundraiser”
Guest Author: Adi Sattva
No. We are not tired. We are bone-split and quark-sucked.
A healthy person gets tired. I get bone-splitting, quark-sucking fatigue.
Why do I say bone-splitting? Because I’m so tired it hurts. This is not a metaphor. There is actual, physical pain. The kind that disintegrates.
Why do I say quark-sucking? Because I want you to understand the thoroughness, the depth, the minuteness of this enervation. It drains you down to the very detail of your molecules. It sucks life from the heart of your atomic structure. It steals the fabric of quantum level you. It takes what you have and then it keeps taking. Tired doesn’t cover it. Fatigue doesn’t cover it. Even this paragraph strains at the seams in its effort to cover it, and fails to cover it. Continue reading “My Tired. Your Tired. The Space Between.”
Guest Author: Lois Janish
I’ve decided to share my story you all are asking about. I’m going to guess it will be a read that takes almost a full cup of coffee but since I never pre-write anything (even my music and lyrics come in one sitting) I have no idea. Many who don’t know me really well will choose to skip it. Others who have blessed me by coming into my life somewhere over the past 24 years have bits of a story and more than ever are asking for the whole picture and how I’m to this miraculous point of recovering. As my story unfolds to my diagnosis and treatment things get pretty interesting 😉 If you or anyone suffers from Lyme or unexplained illness at least skip down to the bottom and read about the treatment.
So I begin….. Continue reading “Lois’ Lyme Story: From Struggle to Recovery”
Author: Sairy Franks
Dear able-bodied people, please be so careful about activism and saying that you only can share your ideas or voice if you can show up physically. For those of us with disabilities, that tells us that we do not deserve to share our ideas and have nothing of value to offer because our bodies can’t leave our house or bed. You are further marginalizing us. I know that is not anyone’s intention (I used to say the same stuff until I could no longer drag my body out into the street) but that is the result. Continue reading “Valuing the Voices of Those Who Can’t Show Up”
Author: Sairy Franks
You are needed! The Oak in the Acorn strives to amplify the voices of those with Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses, as well as amplifying the voices of our caregivers. I have been sick with Lyme Disease and co-infections for 16 years and have been writing about my experiences on this site and other places online. My intent has always been to raise awareness and compassion for people with chronic illness and their support people. However, after meeting and remaining connected to many people with Lyme throughout the years, I understand that I am just one person, and there are many perspectives and stories that go untold as I share only about my experience.
My hope is that those of you with chronic illness and those of you supporting us will submit your stories, experiences, perspectives, hopes, triumphs, tribulations, losses, beauty, and anything you feel drawn to share in a way that is healing to you. This could be in any format – words, pictures, artwork, music, videos, the list goes on. It can be your own personal story or also an article you write on any topic pertaining to chronic illness or Lyme. I know we all have a lot on our plates, so your submissions could even be old FB posts, journal entries, etc. If you’d like to write an “about the author” section for me to add to your article and/or a personal photo of you, that would be great! It’s totally up to you though.
Additional information I’d love to include for those who are interested:
- If there are fundraising efforts for you feel free to send me your story and info about how to donate…I will be happy to share that here!
- If you have art for sale, write something up about it and send it my way! I would love to post about it and direct more people to support you! Include any websites or information necessary so people know how to find your work.
Submissions or questions can be sent to email@example.com.
Because so many of us are housebound, we need a safe place to share our voices and be vulnerable with the confidence that our truths will be met with love. I would love for this to be a community space to celebrate and mourn, as well as be a resource to people who want to show up for folks with chronic illness and our caregivers both in times of struggle and celebration, in ways that heal and support rather than harm or alienate. This is not only an opportunity for people who have been unaffected by chronic illness to learn, but for all of us to learn how to better support one another. All submissions are deeply appreciated.
Author: Sairy Franks
Recently I took a week off of Lyme treatment to prepare for a trip. This was a huge decision. I was only willing to do it because it felt crucial, as I have hardly been able to leave the house for over a year and have been in intensive treatment for 7 months. I spent the only money I have getting gear delivered overnight so I wouldn’t miss my window of opportunity to go. Then the next morning I became very sick and delayed the trip for several days on end, trying to force myself to be well enough each day. I made these difficult sacrifices for the sake of my mental health, but as it turned out was physically unable to go. My partner also missed their chance to go while we waited for me to feel well enough so they could’t even go without me. Continue reading “Self-Judgment: A Silent Symptom of Chronic Illness”
Author/Artist: Sairy Franks, Northern Oak Designs (https://www.etsy.com/shop/NorthernOakDesigns)
Here are a few of the pages from my new coloring book. To view them all, click the link above. I drew each of the pages that make up this coloring book initially for myself. It took more work than can be expressed. Due to my neurological symptoms associated with Lyme Disease, drawing makes me dizzy as if I am hanging upside down. It also hurts my fingers, hands, and arms. In light of these hurdles, each line was drawn with love and a deep desire to remain connected at all costs. I created them when I needed to remember truths that are sometimes hard to connect with when life gets hard, or when I knew something was true for me but is countered by mainstream culture. Holding space for my disappointments and grief, for instance, is something that I have to re-give myself permission to do over and over again. There is no way to convey the emotions experienced while creating them. Continue reading “Coloring through Lyme Disease, chronic illness, and other hard times (my first coloring book is complete!)”