Posted on Mar 29, 2010 in Blog |

I used to believe that when I got sick, I could go to the doctor, get a prescription, take a pill, and I would be healed of whatever ailment had inhabited my body.

I used to believe a holistic approach to health and well-being was a nice thought, a possible avenue, but something that mostly appealed to those ‘hippies’ or those with a lot of money to throw around.

I used to believe organic food was just another way to rip off the customer at the checkout line.

And look at me now. . .

I was introduced to the mind-body-soul connection in 2005 by Freddi Donner ( I had been trying to lose weight for a decade with no success. I was frustrated, angry, almost hopeless. This holistic approach was my ‘last chance.’

Freddi became a life/business coach for me. She also arranged a personal trainer and a nutritionist. She introduced me to reflexology, reiki, different types of massage therapy, yoga, pilates, and meditation. I started with Freddi’s introductions and have gone further.

But it is Freddi who opened my mind and my heart to the possibilities of healing through means other than modern medicine. I am not sure I can reciprocate such a gift as Freddi bestowed upon me.

Freddi started my alternative healing path. And through others, I have found more elements to add to this journey.

Personal trainer – Freddi connected me with Kathy Fries, a former US Army Master Fitness trainer. She has GORGEOUS blue eyes that initially intimated the heck out of me. After two sessions, I realized that she is a gifted trainer who knew exactly how to help me lose inches and pounds without re-injuring myself. Kathy is the first person who ever got me truly motivated and excited about working out. It’s important to find the right match and to find someone who is so talented they will make sure you won’t injure yourself.

Green smoothies and the Vitamix ( – A fellow Lymie told me he was doing green smoothie shakes in the morning and they were making a significant difference in his energy levels. I said, ‘If it doesn’t taste good, I don’t eat or drink it.’ Dan gave me the recipe, Jeff bought me the Green Smoothie Revolution ( book for more recipes and I’m now drinking green smoothies 5-6 times a week! It tastes great and I actually prefer them to my old style breakfasts. Yes, you need the Vitamix in order to do it right. It will make all the difference.

Nutritionist – Kate Vickers Deriso ( helped me shop through Whole Foods, discovering agave nectar, dehydrated bread, and toasted kale that tastes like potato chips. Kate also taught me the beginnings of deep breathing, yoga and meditation. Kate also gave me deep tissue massages that were heavenly. She has now been doing the Bowen technique that is gentler and effective at pain relief. The Bowen Technique is helpful when the body can’t handle deep tissue work.

Thai Massage – I also found that Thai Massage is great for anyone suffering with Lupus, Lyme, Chronic Fatigue, or Fibromyalgia. I met Robert Hart in 2007 ( He came to my house and gave me a 90-minute Thai massage. The physical element was ‘different’ for me. I’m not used to have a man touching me, even with all my clothes on. Robert’s work is also soulful, offering respite to my brain and its convoluted thoughts. My Thai massages give me energy, balance, and a clear headedness.

Reflexology – Juliette Ryland ( is the only person who showed me how a ‘foot massage’ can be better than a full body massage. Reflexology is more than a foot massage. Make sure you get someone who is well trained and well experienced to give you full benefit. Every single session, Juliette told me where my pain had been. And every week, that pain would lessen because of her technique.

Reiki – Stacy McMahon ( has been giving me Reiki – healing touch. While I used to believe that this energy healing was a nice addition to my repertoire, I know believe it to be another essential element to my healing.

Yoga – I tried yoga with a couple of instructors, privately and in a class. Both were disastrous for me. Then I took some private lessons from Ladan at BelovedYoga ( Again, it’s a matter of finding someone who will make sure you don’t injure yourself.

Pilates -The first time almost killed me. When the instructor saw me the second time and realized how much she needed to back down to the very basics, she did, and then we got along very well and I fell in love with Pilates. Once my back gets a bit stronger, I’ll be restarting with Marti Badila ( who lives down the street from me and has a full set up in her basement!

Meditation, guided imagery, EMDR therapy – I don’t always sit in front of a candle and ‘om.’ I pray to God, I try Centering Prayer, I allow Guided Imagery, and I have also been in EMDR Therapy. EMDR is a fascinating, successful therapy for recovery from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and any other major stressful events that have affected one’s daily life. Since the ‘meat’ of my EMDR, I have also been learning different guided imagery techniques, meditation, and ways to balance myself, literally and figuratively.

Dragon Dictation on the iPhone – Lyme Disease has taken my short term memory hostage for an undetermined amount of time. Until it is returned, I have to find a work around. Dragon Dictation ( allows me to speak into my iphone and then create it as a note, an email, anything I need; especially helpful when I am cooking or driving. – it’s the little things that can make a difference!

Detox baths – I don’t know how much they help medicinally speaking, but it is a good time for me to meditate, relax, and soak up some positive energy. Make sure to rinse everything off after a detox bath!

Naps – I take them often. It is amazing how much better the last half of my day is when I have allowed myself the necessity of a nap.

End of the bed heating pad – ( Helps keep my feet warm in the winter – especially important for peripheral neuropathy patients. It is different than a regular heating pad and better!

Organic foods – I really thought organic foods were a ‘left wing conspiracy;’ just a way to ding the consumers even more. Then I got arsenic poisoning. The arsenic was in a particular national brand of chicken that I bought and ate about three times a week. I now eat organic beef, chicken, and eggs.

My dear, sweet, husband started an organic garden in 2008, but seriously injured his leg in the first few weeks. Friends, neighbors, and strangers kept the garden going for us as Jeff’s leg healed. 2009 was our first year of a full crop and we enjoyed every single item (well, Jeff didn’t like the cooked carrots and I didn’t like his brussel sprouts). And Stephen, our almost 17 year-old son, begs for more broccoli and green beans.

Acupuncture ( – if my 80 year-old parents can try this, I think everyone can. Our son Stephen is actually the one who asked for it to see if it would help reduce his asthma. It also gives a nice afterglow and an hour of deep relaxation. And that helps to de-stress the body.

Sharing – I offer my own experience, strength and hope to anyone who asks. Other individuals offered me their insight and wisdom I desperately needed and appreciated. I needed to know that someone else had been where I was and they survived and thrived . . . I want to pay it forward.

Stretching – stretching, stretching and more stretching. I stretch in bed before I get up, I stretch sitting on the toilet, standing in the shower, drying my hair, putting on my clothes. I stretch in my chair at work, on the couch at home. I stretch whenever and wherever possible.

Chiropractor – (Dr. Jan Stephen Sumner, Reston) – And when I have trouble stretching, I go to the chiropractor to see if he can readjust me so the stretches are longer, better, and successfully adjusted.

Nikken ( – Two years ago, you would never hear me even considering the thought of wearing magnetic insoles in my shoes. Now, I won’t go a day without wearing them. I also wear Nikken bracelets and necklaces. I use the water system and the magnetic mattress pad and comforter. Freddi Donner gave me the system to try for a week ( Then I went a few days without while my stuff was coming in. I will never go without it again. Yes, the magnets do make a difference.

Drybrushing – ( Something I never heard of until recently and now I love it. I do it about three times a week. It has actually helped my skin hypersensitivity. It helps with detoxing. Since Bartonella (a coinfection of Lyme) die off can come out through the skin, dry brushing can help speed up the process.

Patient empowerment – I could go on for hours about this. There is NO ONE who will fight for my health more than I will. I HAVE to know my numbers, know my meds, know what to ask, what to say, what to let go and what to demand. It took me months to find the right physician who was qualified and willing to treatment. It was worth every step . . . . but it still remains my responsibility to be an ACTIVE participant in my recovery. If a doctor thinks you ‘don’t need to worry yourself about that,’ walk out the door and get a new doctor who will treat you as a bright, equal, assertive patient.

Positive relationship with my physician – this is a must. I was VERY lucky. My uncle guided me through and reassured me as to what I needed to find in my Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD). A Neighbors member told me about another member who was conquering the disease with a great physician. I called him; we talked, and I never looked back. I KNOW my physician is prescribing a proven successful treatment protocol. I know at a cellular level that I will be healed of this disease. And I know that this is a critical element to my recovery.

Intuition – Listen to it; follow your gut.

Nook / Kindle / EReader – while on vacation, where I usually read about a book a day . . . I found I could not turn the pages of the book because my thumb joints were so painful. An electronic reader allows me to highlight, carry many books at once, and not have to turn pages in a box small enough to fit in my purse.

Ask questions – Twitter, Facebook, support groups are all great places to ask questions, gather information and figure out some new things that might help you in your quest for healing.

Hours and hours of ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ – or anything else that makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. The circus is good too.

Network – I joined Twitter and Facebook and friend other Lymies. I ask questions, offer positive feedback. It helps me to not feel so alone. I do my best to share my experience, strength and hope. Those last two are just as important as the first one.

Positive Attitude – A positive attitude is a critical element in my recovery. Even when I’m not feeling well, I know that it will get better. I have down days, but there is always something I can focus on that is positive.

Willingness – Honestly, folks, I was so NOT into any of this even eighteen months ago. When I got sick, and realized the seriousness of Lyme Disease, I became willing to do just about anything and everything if that meant it would lead to my healing. My recovery definitely would not be where it is now without my willingness to try some of these techniques.

I’m sure I am doing other things that I just can’t remember right now. Not everything works all the time. I do what I can, when I can. And sometimes, that means I eat a Russell Stover chocolate covered marshmallow bunny.

I’d love to hear what else works for others healing from Lyme . . . .