I'm returning to the Enchanted Broccoli Forest.

Waking up Monday morning was rather like  trying to emerge from a pit of tar.  My eyes would barely open, and my brain felt foggy.  As I reached for my cell phone to hit the alarm snooze, I was greeted by a fairly unresponsive right hand.  My fingers were swollen, achy, and weak, and I could barely open my phone.  As I fumbled,  I noticed I had pains in my legs and feet.  I had chills radiating from my low back. My mouth was so dry I could barely swallow, and my throat hurt.  I finally managed to shut off the phone alarm, and gave my limp right hand a shake, slowly opening and closing my fingers, forming a weak, pathetic fist.  

Great.  Just great. 

This has happened before, so it wasn't totally shocking.  I first noticed issues with my motor control almost two years ago.  As a musician and artist, I had always had amazing dexterity.  But then things started getting more challenging.  My normally efficient typing became sloppy, writing became something I had to think about sometimes, playing accordion just started getting harder.  Sometimes I'd wake up in the mornings to slightly puffy, clumsy hands that didn't want to do anything.  Other times it would hit midday.  I notice it more after 10 at night.  These symptoms have come and go over the last couple years; no rhyme or reason to the pattern, just passing through my life as they please.  I've learned to deal with these things. But the last couple months, the morning motor issues have gotten a bit more prevalent. And the last week - basically, since I started eating a bunch of holiday treats - I've been a bit of a disaster. All of my symptoms are flaring up like wildfires in California.  

As I lay in bed, phone on my chest, cold, weak hands tucked under the blankets, one thought popped into my foggy mind: BROCCOLI.

I don't know why I always think of broccoli when I think of "healthy" food.  I eat more variety of vegetables than anyone else I know, and yet, I still play into the idea of broccoli as the penultimate symbol of wellbeing.  It's weird.  Anyway, I couldn't shake the image of broccoli, sturdy, green, full of nutrients, naturally gluten free, sugar free, egg free, free of all that crap that my body can't deal with anymore.  I needed to eat more broccoli.  and by more broccoli, that means less of the other stuff I know I have a hard time dealing with.  I have fallen from grace, my self-control has faded, I have fallen off the wagon I had built for myself over the last year and a half.   Granted, falling off the wagon for me is allowing in some dried fruit, small amounts of agave, more whole grain baked goods, and stevia sweetened chocolate.  For most people, this would be an improvement to their diet, and they'd feel great.  But for me, it is a headlong spiral back into a host of recurring symptoms I won't bother line listing.  My sugar cravings have been crazy the last week.  Maybe some of it is die off from the Diflucan I started two weeks ago, or maybe it is because I have been eating more sugar and it starts that nasty cycle.   I've tasted the forbidden apple, and I can't control  myself  now.  

And consequently, I feel like crap.  My body is freaking out.  Lyme has made me like an overactive chemistry set, just ready to bubble over at any point in time.  My diet gets thrown off, I eat a little too much dried fruit, I stay up late playing board games with my family, and suddenly, I'm down for the count.  Combine this with my yearly bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder on top of my general issues with depression and anxiety, and you could say I'm feeling overwhelmed.

Bottom line?  I need to return to my familiar home in the Enchanted Broccoli Forest, and flee the sweet, delicious gingerbread house I've been living in the last few weeks.  I need to sleep. I need to exercise. I need to calm down. I need to make sure I'm seeing my therapist so I don't lose my mind. I think I need some sort of anti-depressant (I hate that). I need to reclaim all that regimentation that allowed me to start this whole journey.  I need to breath and remember it will all be okay.


I start phasing in antibiotics this Saturday.  My friend is having a party that night, and I plan to go, and make it my own personal celebration to kick of the very long journey that will, eventually, lead to the blessed end of this whole thing.  I know that none of my friends will really understand what a big deal this is. They don't now how hard this is, how it feels like I'm trapped inside my own body, how it has forced me to completely change everything about how I live.  How it has made me feel like my dreams are so much further away than they ever should be.  How it has forced me to have to fight and struggle to do the stupid, simple, mindless things that healthy people never think of as hard.

Like, for example, getting out of bed.  After my right hand finally came back to life a bit, and my snooze went off a couple more times, it was time to drag myself out of bed and greet the day.  I needed to feed the cat and do a few housechores at this place I'm housesitting at right now, and I needed to get ready for work.  So, I throw off the covers, slowly stretch, and turn to get up.  When I stand, I'm greeted with pain in the bottoms of my feet, cracking ankles, and need to steady myself on the nightstand. I hobble downstairs and feed the cat, then drag myself back upstairs to wash up for the day.  By the top of the stairs, I'm a bit winded, and honestly, sitting down on the toilet provides a nice bit of rest.  

Am I 90 years old?  Give me a break.  I couldn't help but chuckle a little as I sat there, relaxing on the toilet, reading a copy of Martha Stewart Living.  

When did I become so sensitive?

Since the hell that was Monday morning I've gotten back in my normal cycle of eating (no more date-filled GF cookies, no more stevia-sweetened chocolate, no more GF molasses cookies), have gotten more sleep, and have drank more water than I can stand.  I'm feeling a bit more like myself.  I'm still cold as hell, but at least I was able to wake up this morning and use my hands.  I'm not as achy, I feel a little more focussed.  I don't feel as bloated and my digestion feels like it is normalizing again.  I never cease to be amazed at how quickly my body reacts to change, both good and bad.  While my super-reactivity can be a real pain in the ass sometimes, it gives me hope that once I start taking antibiotics, they will do their job quickly.  It won't be easy, I know, I just hope it will be effective.  I'm so freaked to be taking all these pharmaceuticals, but I know it needs to happen.

Three more days.  Then Omnicef.  

[For any of you Mollie Katzen fans out there, I'm sure you recognize the phrase Enchanted Broccoli Forest.  If you don't, Mollie Katzen is a chef, and she wrote a great vegetarian cookbook called The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. I have always loved that title,  and the magical image it brings to mind.  And the cookbook is pretty great too.]