Adjusting To New Holiday Traditions

In 16 years, not a single snow storm or blizzard deterred me from seeing my family during the Christmas season.

Dating back to my freshman year of college, I would pack the car to the brim and drive to Minnesota. I usually brought a giant pile of dirty clothes to wash at my parents house, as I had typically run out of quarters by the end of the semester. In the years I had my job as an Occupational Therapist, I loaded the car with gifts that I had proudly purchased for my family. When I got married, my husband became part of my holiday traveling tradition also.

By 2011, I was no longer well enough to take those trips.

Christmas with my family is huge. Parents, sisters, brothers, cousins, children, grandchildren and friends all congregate at my Aunt’s house in what invariably turns into a 2-3 day marathon of food, fun and some serious card playing. Games like Canasta, Continental Rummy and Nuts have been a family tradition as far back as I can remember. I grew up playing cards and learned to count while playing poker with my grandmother. My cousin, Julie, is the undisputed card-playing champion of the family. Her hands move so fast, at times they’re blurry.

I miss those days.

Not yet strong enough to endure the Christmas festivities, I find myself trying to create new traditions in Chicago.

In our apartment, we have a small, buy carisoprodol canada decorated tree that sits on our mantel. We tried a 7 foot tree one year, but my beagle tried to eat it so we had to downsize.

Every year, I pose the beagles in costumes just long enough to snap a pic or two. I have a reindeer, a Santa suit and a snowman costume. The costumes are decided based on their cooperation. This year, I had a pocket full of yummy treats so I had their full participation.





Like last year, my mother will be coming the day after Christmas. We will partake in our annual tradition of driving around looking for the best displays of Christmas lights. We have been doing this since I was a child, first in my hometown of Winona, and now in Chicago. This is one of my favorite Christmas-time activities.

There are moments however, where I realize I am not yet adjusted to my life with Lyme and such an uneventful holiday season. There will be no big, family meal and no presents to unwrap, as every spare cent we have goes towards my treatment. Such quietness seems foreign to me.

Hopefully, I will one day soon be able to enjoy Christmas and the busyness once again!


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from me, Tom, Seven (15 yrs) and Caylie (12 yrs)!



May is Lyme Disease Awareness month.  Today, May 16th, on a rainy and unseasonably cold day in Chicago, along with some of my fellow Lyme fighters, I went downtown for a peaceful protest in front of the Illinois State Medical Society Headquarters on the first day of a two-day event.


My friend in Lyme, Jenny, (yes, there were two of us) met me and brought me a lime green t-shirt to wear, with “Team Jenny” written on the back.  She and much of her family, spent the last few days preparing signs and t-shirts.  The event organizers assembled tote bags filled with Continue reading


September, 2012

After my husband left the house to run some errands, I found myself sitting on the dining room bench. I don’t recall where I had just come from, or where I intended to go. I only know I was drained, so very exhausted. My brained seared badly as if salt were being pored into an open wound. I do know however, that I was sitting on the bench to rest. I often wondered how one could suffer such exhaustion and still have legs that held them up. Alone, resting on the bench, I pondered if a day might come that my legs no longer had the strength to carry me. Would I crumble to the ground? Would I cease to exist? I let my mind wander. Before I knew it, I was enwrapped in my thoughts and staring at the hardwood floor. This was indeed a very bad day.

“Hello. Hellooo.” a familiar voice called up the stairwell. Absorbed in my thoughts and unable to break away from them, I only faintly heard the voice. Suddenly the door opened and in walked my mother.

“Mom! What are you doing here?” I called to her.

I had not seen my mother for almost a year as she lives in Minnesota. Although she had been willing to come much sooner, I had been bedridden for the past four months suffering severe neurological symptoms. I could not tolerate excess noise or stimulation well and repeatedly declined her invitation. I kept hoping that I would spontaneously awake to a better day, week and eventually, a better month. Then, I would have visitors, discuss my short-lived relapse and celebrate being back on the healing path with a nice dinner out on the town. However after several month of declining health, it became apparent that those days were not coming anytime soon.

Knowing I most likely would continue to tell my mom not to come, my husband had surprised me by arranging the arrival of my mother by train for me. My mom briskly walked toward me as I sat on the bench. She hugged my skinny body. With wet, sunken in eyes, I looked at her and said, “I can’t believe you are here!”

Embarrassment flooded over me as the strong , independent daughter she once knew was no longer present. I anticipated it would be difficult for her to see me in this condition and that she would feel powerless to help in this circumstance. I worried I would not have the strength to keep her encouraged. I had always buy legit soma online maintained a positive outlook about recovering from the mystery illness that was believed to be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but I had deteriorated so rapidly this time, I was uncertain what the future held for me. Many tears were shed that weekend. Tears from a mother realizing how ill her daughter truly was and unable to relieve my suffering. Tears from me knowing how difficult this must be for her to see me this ill.

I have some recollection of my mom rubbing my back to console me as pain radiated along my spine while I lay in bed. Much of the rest of her visit is a blur. In addition to high doses of sleep medication, endless bouts of insomnia and profound fatigue contributed to a brain filled to the brim with fog. Two days later, my mother returned home.

December, 2013

More than a year had passed since my mom’s visit in 2012. Over that time, there had been many low points from my illness and my mother was able to support me from a distance through phone calls and daily Facebook chats.

It had been suspected that I had Lyme Disease based on clinical symptoms for a year, but tests as recent as this past October were finally able to to confirm it with much greater certainty and I was able to begin a more targeted treatment program as of November. Although progress is slow, I have been able to reach a point of more stability in my symptoms and I was recently able to invite my mother for a 4-day visit to the city.

I am no longer completely bed bound and am able to make short trips out for a few hours at a time once or twice a week. I still have a giant mountain to climb before I reach the top, but even mild progress in a year is worth celebrating. Knowing this, my husband planned a surprise trip for my mother and I to Tiffany’s on Michigan Avenue. We chose to pick out a matching pair of Mother-Daughter Band Rings. My mother is more than just “mom” to me. She is my friend and I am so happy to have had her here with my husband and I over the holidays to celebrate yet another small victory in my Lyme journey.

Band Rings from Tiffany's

Band Rings from Tiffany’s

Mother-Daughter Matching Rings from Tiffany's

Mother-Daughter Matching Rings from Tiffany’s


The last few days, I have been taking a much needed mental vacation from my illness, from obsessing over it, researching it, chatting about it and just non-stop thinking about it.  My recently developed philosophy has been to celebrate small victories and re-learn to enjoy my life again.  The following images of my birthday and short film following an afternoon with a friend, are some of the most fun days I have had in a very order soma online us pharmacy long time.  I may still be ill, and as recent test indicate, quite ill, but I am determined to challenge the notion within myself that I simply can not do or can not enjoy anything anymore.

Below are some photos my husband took during my birthday celebration with just the two of us two days ago.

oliver peoples photo 1

street photo 2

prada photo

Below is a Thank You short film for my friend Vanessa.