Book of Hope Introduction

As a child I saw the beauty in everything, which has served me well, especially through the  most difficult times in my life.  Yet there was a time when I began to feel hopeless, and needed some inspiration. This book is born from the inspirations, hope and healing that helped me move beyond being bedridden from Lyme Disease. No matter where you are in your life, no matter how dark it may seem, I promise you, there is light.  You now have a guide to help you create your own beautiful life, no matter how dark it may seem. 

How My Own ‘Book of Hope’ was born

In November of 2000, I removed a tick form my left wrist and by nightfall had a bullseye rash. My doctor prescribed antibiotics for Lyme Disease. I felt so grateful to have found the tick and the rash.  There was so much controversy about Lyme Disease, how to diagnose and treat it at the time.  There was also less awareness. To have the rash, documented proof in the doctor’s office. 

Over the next six months, my health deteriorated at a rapid rate.  Napping in my car every day ant lunch time became necessary.  Each night, I fell into bed exhausted.  Some day were better than others.  I took antibiotics on and off, always feeling better when taking them. 

One day at work, everything on the computer screen was blurry. I went to a walk-in eye doctor at lunch.  My vision had drastically changed and bifocals were prescribed. As I grew weaker, a colleague met me at the office entrance to carry my briefcase because I could not.  Becoming more feeble and fatigued, working from home was the only option, eventually working from bed. Yes, I was stubborn. 

Then in May 2001, I woke up with the most excruciating pain that began in the sacrum, straight up my spine, exploding from the head. It was a migraine to the tenth degree in my whole upper body.  My husband took me tot he emergency room.  The pain was so intolerable that I begged him to take me home because sitting in the waiting room chairs was unbearable.  A nurse then put me on a gurney and left me in the hallway until it was time for the doctor to see me. I was frightened not knowing what was happening and writhing in pain. My body was clearly speaking to me, but at the time I had no idea about that. The doctors ruled out spinal meningitis, but still did not know what was wrong.  They did not think it was Lyme Disease.  They sent me home with several prescriptions for pain relief.  Nothing helped.  Nor did it change.  The pain and fatigue persisted.  Thus began a new round of doctors, neurologists, rheumatologists and pain specialists, all prescribing medications, none of which helped. 

The pain was insufferable and the fatigue overwhelming.  It was an extreme effort to walk. I could barely tolerate being in certain reclined positions, mostly lying in bed. Going to the doctor’s meant being driven, lying flat in the back seat.  Showering and dressing was difficult, cooking impossible. 

I was living in Connecticut at the time, and I had been to so many doctors, but none of them would prescribe more antibiotics for me.  Although the one thing we noticed in the previous six months is that when on the antibiotics, I felt better than when not taking them. 

We went to Yale-New Haven hospital, thinking that was the best place to be treated for Lyme Disease. Feeling hopeful on the way to the appointment turned to disappointment. The doctor touched me in places on my body, asked me some questions, then told me that I did not Lyme Disease anymore because enough antibiotics had been given.  I just looked at her in disbelief.  All the symptoms persisted, showing improvement when taking antibiotics. Now it’s not Lyme Disease anymore.  So what is it?  She told me that I had Fibromyalgia and that I would have to learn to live with it.  

To say we left that office angry and frustrated is an understatement.  Every aspect of my body, mind and spirit was compromised. Days and nights were lived from bed, dependent on my young teen children. Even with all the prescriptions, there was little relief from the all consuming pain. 

Fortunately, I could read in small doses which was a saving grace and I began to read everything available about Lyme Disease which led me to an angel, a Lyme literate doctor who helped me understand what was happening.  He confirmed that I did indeed still have Lyme Disease and several other tick borne co-infections. We also traced back to 1996 when I removed a tick from the back of my left leg.  This helped explain all the funky and unrelated health issues I had been having for several years. Undiagnosed and untreated Neurological Lyme Disease had been wreaking havoc on my body for over four years before the second tick bite. The antibiotics that had been prescribed were adequate for acute Lyme Disease, but no sufficient for Chronic Lyme Disease. 

He also explained to me that it would take several courses of different combinations of antibiotics over a long term period before recovery would seem possible.  He preferred to treat by pulsing. This means that antibiotics are taken for 12 weeks, then stopped for two weeks.  His rational based on his experience and research was that the spirochetes were so invasive in the body learn how to hide and evade the antibiotics , becoming less effective over time.  When the body is given a break and the antibiotics are no longer a threat, the spirochetes come out of hiding.  Then more of them are killed.  This mass killing causes a toxic overload in the body known as a herxheimer reaction, also referred to as a ‘herx,’ and all symptoms are intensified. 

For five years, my life was a cycle of improvement, herxing and feeling worse than ever, then showing improvement with the next course of antibiotics.  This was hellish and it was also working. Slowly, ever so slowly, a little more functionality and increased doses of stamina returned.  Yet, for every step forward there were two steps back.  My doctor had explained this to me, yet when you are in the midst of the grip, it’s easy to lose perspective. 

Learning to celebrate the tiniest improvements, yet at the same time, diving deeper into criticism towards my illness took their toll emotionally. I longed to return to my life before this all happened.  It took many years to understand that it was never about going back, but learning the lessons of acceptance, surrender and moving forward. This was a tall order when plunged in darkness and despair. Hope was fading and yet instinctively knowing that hope was all there was, I started to meditate, read books that were inspiring and uplifting, listen to affirmations that felt hopeful, if not true.  Then I began to copy the affirmations, prayers, and words of inspirations onto the blank pages of a journal, filling them with hope and intention for my recovery.  Reading these words daily, then adding my own words helped keep me positive and hold onto hope for better and healthier days. This was the beginning of my personal book of hope. 

Better Days Ahead

The energy behind the words in my journal guided me toward an amazing journey of healing on all levels - physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally and spiritually.  I began to explore the inner depths of my psyche and emotions that had been buried deep inside in order for me to show up for my life. Working with alternative healing methods allowed me to slowly shed the prescription medications one at a time over years until left with only one. 

The third time I was bit by a tick in 2011 I worked with a naturalpathic doctor.  Another three years of antibiotics, herbs, supplements, testing fo other conditions, treatments in combination with the resources you’ll discover in these pages helped me reach a new level in my health. My health has come a long way since those days of darkness.  I still continue to learn  how best to manage Fibromyalgia, yes I really do have it, a result form the chronic Lyme Disease.  These two conditions were my brutal wake up call for living in harmony with my soul, a more heart centered and creative life.  They would and still do offer me many lessons and gifts. 

Whether your depths of darkness are from illness, soul sucking job, unhappiness or unhealthy relationships, you can create your own ‘Book of Hope.’  Take charge of your healing and your life by using the techniques, suggestions, observations and resources offered to you in  these pages. Reading from these pages today still fills me with a sense of peace, grounding and expansion. 

Suggestions for Using This Book 

Please do not get hung up on the words, God, Universe, Divine Light or other identifications that don’t feel comfortable or true. Substitute words that make sense for you. This book will serve you regardless of your religious affiliation.  It is written from a loving and spiritual perspective for the highest and best good of all who read it. Hold that intention for yourself as you work through the pages.  

Trust how you feel drawn to use this book as your personal guide. Also know, that healing in cyclical and continuous.  The intention you set and how ready you are to heal at a subconscious level will affect the speed at which you advance. \

You can take different approaches to reading this book. Here are some ideas.

  1. Read it front to back, then go back and pick the chapters that speak to you.

  2. Open it up and trust that the information on that page is what you need in that moment.

  3. A combination of the above may work best for you.

  4. Work with it one chapter at a time, fully embracing that information until it becomes natural and easy.

From my heart to yours, this book is for you, as you begin to awaken spiritually and find your way home to your soul.  Thank you for giving it your love and attention.