Health Tip Tuesday: Eat Garlic

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Consuming raw garlic works as a natural antibiotic! Amazing, right? It fights fungal infections AND yeast which I found so fascinating and exciting AND curious that one time I stuck a clove of garlic up my vagina ..and that’s how I ended up LOSING a whole clove of garlic up my vagina. Apparently you can stick a clove up there if you’re worried about yeast infections so I did just for funnies, and then I LOST IT. Definitely, be sure to attach a thread or cheese cloth to the garlic.

The way I consume garlic these days (everyday, actually- so I ALWAYS smell like garlic) is by crushing it up and putting it on top of salads with olive oil and avocado.

It’s always one of my main suggestions especially for Lyme suffers.

Here is a link to some helpful garlic-consuming-instructions to follow:

Avoid These 6 Common Mistakes When Using Garlic As an Antibiotic

PS: That photo up there is me shouting at my friend Eric, “I lost the garlic!”

Fun and Love,

Jackie

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My Top 10 Simple and Affordable Wellness Suggestions

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This week, I’m in my second of twelve IVIG treatments. Five days in a row, six hours a day, I’m receiving IV Immunoglobulin therapy. It’s really hard on my body. I’m writing to you with an IV in my right hand (I was too out of it to take the practical idiocy of this into account- I’m a “righty” and I can’t get my hand wet.So I’m filthy)   an IV in my left arm, and some kind of head, neck, and back pain that has kept me up too many hours of the nights/ early mornings. I am mostly miserable. Considering the circumstances, for this weeks post, I’m going to take my business partner, Eva Fischer’s advice: “It’s OK to Can’t” and keep it simple.

Here is my tailor-made list of simple and affordable healing “musts.” Just to be clear: this is MY list- formed from 2 1/2 years of experience and many wise suggestions from fellow “spoonies” and some doctors. I’m simply sharing my experience. I’m not suggesting it’s the only way…I’m suggesting you create your own list.
But I’m definitely right on all accounts. 🙂

10. Sunshine: Vitamin D is an essential aspect of healing, and, it’s way more powerful to get it from the sun than to take it in supplement form. Fortunately, for those of us located in sunny parts of the world, it’s easy to step into a pool of sunshine and stay there for fifteen-thirty minutes. I understand it’s not that convenient for everyone. Regardless, I urge you to set aside time to let some of your skin touch the sun. It will lift your spirits and enhance your health. It’s important not to wear sunscreen. Sunscreen blocks vitamin D production. You can produce up to 25,000 IU of vitamin D between 15- 30 minutes of sunshine depending on other factors (skin tone, time of day, etc… ). Another quick FYI: glass blocks all UVB so, although it might boost your mood which is great, you will not get vitamin D if you are behind glass (glass= window).

9.Lymphatic Drainage: AKA: Exercise. I don’t use the word “exercise” because, if you’re like me, that word suggests something way more aggressive than what you might be capable of. Whatever it is you’re healing from will likely determine how much and what kind of movement you can do. It’s an individual quest to find the exercise that’s right for you. Regardless, I try to strategically move at some point in the day to assist in draining my lymph system. Light walks are a good call- you can even double fist it and get your sun time this way! Riding a bike (stationary or not) is amazing for draining, and usually really nice for my body. I often lay on my back with my legs up and pedal in the air. That is an effective and gentle way to move without causing too much strain on my body. It also ends up being a core work out which always makes me feel stronger and happier. If you have a trampoline,  use it! JUST MOVE A LITTLE.

8.Probiotics and stuff: Find your necessary supplements. I think it’s safe to say that probiotics are good for everyone. Your immune system starts in your gut and probiotics keep your gut healthy- it’s really simple. Take them in the morning on an empty stomach and at least 30-50 billion flora a day. If you’re on antibiotics wait AT LEAST two hours between abx and probiotics as abx just kill the good flora you’re taking. I also take magnesium, coQ10, Curcumin, esterC, L-lysine, and B complex daily among others. If you do some research you can find out what the best supplements are for you. God knows, I have tried them all , but it gets expensive and, so, I’ve found my most helpful ones and stick to them. It’s also important to give your cells a break as they get over saturated. Sometimes, I just take a day or two completely off.

7.Breathe: That’s right! This annoying word. This can come in the form of meditation, reading, watching TV, doing EMDR (I highly suggest the incredible EMDR anxiety release app- $5.00) or just sitting still and breathing. It’s so important to take deep breaths and avoid stress getting caught in my body. I’m no breathing expert. I forget to breathe  A LOT. I take my own suggestion to breathe usually around 3 or 5 am when I wake up in pain and with overwhelming thoughts about the future. I put a hand on my belly and just keep breathing into it- I keep returning my attention to whether or not I’m breathing until I fall back asleep. Take time, as often as possible, to take deep breaths and move your anxiety through instead of letting it get stuck. Stay present, do one thing at a time, and keep it simple. Stress IS never helpful or worthwhile. Sometimes, the greatest action I can take for my well-being is to breathe. Hint: Kundalini Yoga will keep you breathing 😉

6. Rest- STUPID REST. I have a negative physical reaction to that irritating word. But, alas, it has been made royalty in the well-being courts, and I bow down to it. I avoided rest for far too long, and I blame my restlessness for keeping me sick sometimes- so now, I try to take it very seriously. I turn off for the night, and make sure I have a full 8 hours of being in bed even if I’m not sleeping that whole time. I’ve found, I also need to take time midday. My personal goal is to take an hour every afternoon/ evening where I turn my phone off and do nothing but read, watch tv or lay still and breathe. On top of that, I need one FULL DAY OFF per week. That means, I have one day where I do not put any pressure on myself to accomplish ANYTHING. I understand that not everyone is lucky enough to be in this position (those of you with children). For those who can, I suggest a full day of expecting nothing of yourself but to eat, hydrate, take your supplements, and enjoy a day of rest! I’ve come to LOVE these days. From the girl who had a panic attack every time she was forced to sit still, that’s pretty incredible.

5. Gratitude lists-  I don’t want to speak for everyone, but I can always find PLENTY to be grateful for. That doesn’t mean we’re not all allowed some moments of sadness, anger, and even self-pity. SURE! Go for it! It’s all just practice. I’ve been practicing writing gratitude lists for almost a decade and the result has been profound. I was once such a complainer, and I rarely complain these days without a whole list of positives birthed from the very same place the complaints come from. Being sick can get really dark for me, and I’d say gratitude lists are the flashing lights that keep me moving through the tunnel. Get it? The light is not at the end of the tunnel- it’s here and now…when I’m grateful.

4.Joy- Find SOMETHING that lifts your spirits and do it!  Like gratitude, I can often, if not always, find some moments of joy in my day. Prior to writing this blog (which has been my recent source of joy), I picked up my camera and took a photo a day for 365 days.I can’t tell you how many times the simple act of taking some photos changed the whole of my experience for that day. Now, during the hardest time of my life, I have these photos to look at…something fun and positive came out of that shitty year. Whether it’s watching cartoons, listening to good music, dancing,  singing in the shower, or working on something I believe in, my cells crave joy, and I feel healthier and lighter when I give it to them.

3. Toxic free- I Removed as many toxins as possible. I replace any harsh toxic cleaners (bleach. yuck) with more natural cleaners (better yet just use baking soda and vinegar). I use aluminum free deodorant (try thai crystal- it does work!) I use a natural toothpaste, natural hand wash, dish cleaner, body soap, laundry detergent, and removed all forms of mercury from my life (fish, fish oil supplements, amalgam fillings). There are so many pollutants and harsh chemicals around us (and in our food) so I do my best to control what I can. I never, ever saw myself going this route, I was a bleach using, aluminum using, don’t give a fuck human. But, I’m on that mission for total wellness now 🙂

2.Eat- Unless I’m doing a cleanse of some sort that is good for me, I don’t stop eating nutritious food! Sometimes, our appetites suffer as a result of being sick, and I’ve certainly been there. When I cut all of the crap out of my diet and I was so sick, I had a really hard time staying on top of eating. I suddenly dropped 10 pounds which is a lot on my small frame. I started just force feeding myself three nutritious meals a day. Now I happily consume food. I seem to be hungry all of the time which is great news! My daily menu generally consists of this: Celery juice on an empty stomach, followed by a glass of water with my supplements, followed by coffee,then a smoothies of 2 bananas, 2 dates, a cup of wild blueberries and some sort of protein that I can take my xenostat with. Lunch is a giant (mostly raw) salad: I use two different kinds of greens, cucumber, celery, radish, hemp seeds, a full avocado smashed with raw garlic and lemon, an engine 2 black bean burger and Bragg’s organic olive oil. Dinner is usually a toss-up, but I tend to go for something like rice, beans, sweet potato mash or cauliflower mash with sautéed snap peas and a turkey patty. Obviously, I’m on an extremely strict diet. For snacks, I eat nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies, lara bars, go raw Spirulina crackers, and gluten-free toast with coconut oil. I urge you to find the foods that are most important to your well-being and eat them everyday.

1. Stay Hydrated- OH! My favorite. My mother calls me the “hydration bully” for a reason. I average 2.5 liters of rehydrating fluids a day. It’s much harder for infection to live in an alkaline body, and one of the best ways to alkaline is by drinking water with citrus- for me, usually lemon or lime. It’s also super important to have a good filtering system!  Green juices are also hydrating especially straight cucumber juice or celery juice, and then, there’s the beloved coconut water! I make sure to buy organic coconut water with NOTHING ELSE in it and I usually squeeze some lime into it. Then there’s herbal teas, and making your own ginger tea which usually makes me feel really good. I just heat up some filtered water with sliced ginger in it and let it steep. I add lemon or cayenne if I’m feeling extra spicy. It’s SO important, especially if you’re participating in ANY detox methods to drink loads of water.
Speaking of hydration, I’m currently drinking coffee. I’ll be on my couch watching “A Big Fat Greek Wedding” until treatment is over.  We’re all just doing our best.

With Fun and Love,

Jackie

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In Loving Memory

 

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My father is not dead- not by medical standards. Not yet. Tick tock- I’ve been waiting for him to die, watching, angrily, as the more innocent go in his place. He’s more..missing with an expectation of no return- I expect he’ll die, lonely, on his lifelong search for the unattainable. I tried. I tried to show him that maybe I could BE all he was searching for, but there’s no competing with the ever- sparkly temptress crack cocaine. She comes with immortal magic AND hookers. At some point, it’s just demoralizing to compete with that world ESPECIALLY when it’s for the attention of an abusive lunatic- the whores can have him. I let him go. He’s now an unrecognizable imposter still called my dad. He’s the walking dead. This kind of grief is very complicated- losing someone completely before they’ve actually departed. I tried to avoid the feelings for a decade, covering my heartbreak up with “forgiveness,” “acceptance,” and “apathy.” When I got sick and was stripped of all of my defenses, maintaining any sort of relationship with my father felt like voluntarily signing up for a causeless war that puts me in the front line alone with no protection or weapons. Being on a mission for total wellness, that would be insane of me. Instead, I faced my past- my devastating heartbreak, and, very recently, uncovered the love I had forgotten all about.

It’s SO easy to vilify my father: he’s an abusive crack addict/ alcoholic, narcissist with sociopathic tendencies, cheater, liar, and he left my family in shambles. I spent most of my childhood tortured by fear, wishing my parents would divorce, or wishing him dead. He was a scary, nasty, and handsy drunk that I could honestly say, I did not love. SO when, at my very impressionable age of 9, my Dad sobered up and ripened into a tall, dark, handsome, and rich man, I was bamboozled into falling in love. I didn’t know how to brace myself for a love like that so I just let myself fall like the naive child I was. I was totally taken by him. My heart went all fireworks every time he held my hand or gave me a hug or said something nice to me. When he wanted to be with me, when he wanted to take me on a date, I put on my best dresses and sat cross-legged across from him at fancy restaurants as I tried to be his peer, his most beloved. Sound a little weird? TOTALLY. It is weird. It’s unhealthy but kind of sweet at best and like super creepy at worst. It’s the truth, though, my father was my first all-encompassing love. And my first (arguably my only) shattering heartbreak.

In 2001, after just a few short but poignant years of sobriety, he started drinking again. There were signs. He was being cruel, and he had that look again: that feral look. I lived with an unshakable faith that my father, MY FATHER, would NEVER use again so it was very confusing for me the first night he didn’t come home. At 6 AM, on my way to school I asked my mother what happened. She said, “ I’m not sure what happened- I think Dad’s in the hospital. Maybe a car accident? He’s drinking again.” I was dumbstruck. I thought about it for the rest of the day in a sort of daze- a world where my dad drinks again? The puzzle pieces didn’t fit- it just didn’t fucking fit. I admittedly have an active and dramatic imagination, but I could have never thought up what was about to come.

2001-2003 were bad years- challenging and disorienting, but they were also the hopeful years. Yes, the downward spiral was picking up speed, and, yes, really nasty things were happening in the home, and, yes, my father was not only drinking, but also snorting coke, and not coming home and acting unstable at best but, he still had a job, and it appeared from my 15-year-old perspective that, at any minute, he’d change his mind and it could all just magically go back to “normal.” I attempted to sway him- believing if he loved me enough, he’d come around – be my knight in shinging armor again. He had an office in a dark corner of the house. It was filled with all of the expensive things that he purchased at the height of his simultaneous success and sobriety. In 2001, he sat behind a big oak desk, smoking cigarettes, clicking away at his computer, and taking business calls that he always sounded so authoritative and intelligent on. By 2003, it was a drug den. He locked the door, and left the lights out so there was always an uncertainty about whether or not he was even in there. His oak desk was now piled with clutter of all sorts and his drawers were filled with the paraphernalia of his new lifestyle. I sometimes knocked on the door. I often wondered if he was around, if he would be willing to see me- if he would maybe hold me once more, and tell me it was OK. I would write him letters and slip them under the door with high hopes of how they might affect him.

He responded to one of my letters, and I saved it all of these years. I think I saved it because it is this one piece of loose leaf that proves what he and I had together- the love we shared as father and daughter. It slipped out of a book the other day, and inspired this post. From late 2003:

Dad,
There are just some things I have on my mind that I want you to know. I want you back in my life…You haven’t hit rock bottom yet because you still have a family who loves you…don’t let that slip away. I hate seeing you do this to yourself but I believe in you. I have hope that you will pull through this. You have a problem that you understand better than any of us so all I truly get is that you are in lots of physical and mental pain. I see the anxiety and guilt in your eyes. I just ask one thing: please don’t turn your back on me and pretend I don’t see what’s going on. I see it, but I still love you soooo much and am extremely concerned about you. I just want you to know that people still care…especially me..hitting rock bottom is when you lose that. I LOVE YOU. I hope you can feel this deep in your soul. LOVE, JACKIE

and on the back of the piece of looseleaf, he returned this…

Jackie:
When did you get so smart? So mature? Sorry I am giving you this particular lesson this way. Yes, I am in a really bad place filled with fear and guilt. It’s nobody’s fault and no one can help. It’s all up to me. Unfortunately, the same things that have given me success in life bring me to this place. It’s part of who I am and I have to overcome it. There is no denial on my part. I see and feel everything which is why I will prevail! I need you to stay strong and stay on course. I feed off that. Ultimately, this will make me stronger and a better person. Don’t cry baby- let me see your strength. Show me how people like us handle things! You know what I mean- I know you do. God damn I’m proud of you! Love, Dad.

I remember reading that letter and feeling so much hope- dad was on the horizon! The very next thing I remember is Crack-the fucking Devil’s drug- I’ve never seen anything like it. That drug hijacked what was left of my father’s heart, his spirit, in the middle of the night, leaving no time for me to say my goodbyes. That letter is the last thing I have from him that resembles the man I loved. The years 2003-2005 were the most violent, destructive years we lived through. I wondered often whether my Mother would get out alive as there were ever-increasing attempts to take her out. I wondered nightly whether or not my father was alive. I heard his screams in the middle of the night (if he was home).  He’d convulse on the couch so fiercely that his crack pipe would fall out of the pocket of the terry cloth robe his body was now too frail for. If he was alive, I considered killing him myself which, by the way, I am VERY GLAD I never fully attempted.  He lost his job, our cars, our house, and my parents divorced all in those 2 years. The last engagement I saw between my parents as married people was October of 2005 when my dad said, “Jackie, there’s one last thing I want you to see me do to your mother,” and then he spit a wad of yellow phlegm right on her face so it dripped off of her nose. That was not great. See- IT’S EASY TO VILIFY MY FATHER.

I thought I walked away from all of that unaffected. It was my mission to move on and be unaffected. I numbed it- who could begin to deal with all of that garbage AND continue living a life? I talked about my past like it was some story- someone else’s life. “Yeah like that time my dad had hookers in the house and beat my mom and threatened to eat my dog,” I’d laugh while others would crane their necks in silence.  I moved 6,000 miles away from home, and I decided to be the best daughter I could be regardless of who he was. All that meant was that we maybe talked once every six months, and I sent him a “Happy Birthday” text. The last time I saw him, 2 years ago, he was so high that I swore/ hoped I was leaving him for dead, and I had NO PROBLEM leaving. Five minutes after I left him, my doctor called to let me know that my Lyme results came back still very much positive.

When I got sick and my father was what he had been for 15 years (absent and high) I fell apart. I lived, I think, with some reservation, that if I ever needed my father desperately enough, he would show up. Surely, if I got sick, he would revert back to 1999 Dad. When I had to face the reality that my father was no help whatsoever but only a hindrance to my well-being, I was faced with a level of grief so painful, I thought I’d never get over it. As a coping mechanism, I again turned to hate- vilify the asshole.  I felt and often feel the anger, but he’s not just this one thing. He’s not just “monster.”

When I found that letter, I remembered everything I ever loved about him, and I remembered how much he loved me. There was good there- there was even something innocent there, I think. I can take an eraser to my hard edges that leave no room for mistakes. I can see the whole, messy, imperfect picture. It’s weird, I know, to talk about him in the past. It’s so complicated to grieve the loss of someone who is still bodily alive…somewhere…I don’t even know where. Today, I wish he was dead just so I could talk to him. I really do miss that man- the man in that letter.

I remember my father telling me one day in 2004 while we both fiercely sucked down cigarettes in his Porsche, “The opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is not caring.” I TRIED so hard to not care about my Dad- just to show him. Wouldn’t it be so easy to not care? But I’m on a fucking mission to heal, and that has meant unveiling all of the nasty shit, facing it, and finding what lives underneath- an innocent, unshakable love. It also means, staying the hell away from the toxic, lunatic man he’s become. But, dammit,  I love you, Dad- can’t wait till you find peace.

Fun and Love,

Jackie

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I Guess I Wasn’t Meant to be a Cirque Du Soleil Performer

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It was October of 2013 in Las Vegas. I was there on work, but I was double fisting and trying to accomplish all of the “Vegas” shenanigans on my bucket list.
Being a multi-tasker mostly fails me, but I got a lot accomplished on this trip. First I had to tackle the infamous strip club, The Spearmint Rhino- my first ever legitimate strip club experience. I made a surprising discovery that I am NOT good at “strip clubbing.” Perhaps, I prefer to BE the naked person encroaching on your personal space –  not the clothed person dodging all the boobs in my face. Leave the offensively delightful behavior to me, please. I gambled for the first time. Which is something I should DEFINITELY never do again because IT’S SO FOR ME. And I went to see my first Cirque Du Soleil show, “The Beatles Love.” Struck both quiet and giddy, I left the theater stupefied. I LIKED CIRQUE. Nay, I loved cirque. Furthermore, I thought I missed my calling as a cirque performer.

Back in Los Angeles, I talked about it for weeks to anyone who was willing to listen. With honest devastation, I’d say, “I’m almost 26. I’m too old to do it now, and I would have been so good at it. I ‘m a lover of adrenaline. Strength and flexibility have always come so naturally to me. My parents are the worst… .” People listened to me because I was a cute young woman so I got away with things that would otherwise be VERY ANNOYING. I racked my brain around how to start my cirque training NOW. I sat and obsessed until a good friend shut me up one day, “ Are we seriously still on this? You know what. You did NOT miss your calling as a cirque performer. You know why? Let me tell you why : because YOU, Jackie, are not for anonymity. Cirque performers are anonymous, and you don’t want to be anonymous. You want to be known. That’s why.” He was right. I had never heard a more accurate description of myself. His point proven: I’ve been acting for 10 years which in itself is a version of exhibitionism, and, now, at my most vulnerable, raw, and least attractive, I’m willing to let it be known. Name attached and nudity involved, here I am, too sick and naked. But before I get all dramatic and sad on you…

A couple of weeks after getting back from Vegas, I figured out how to make cirque fit in my life: go to Santa Monica– take trapeze class, watch all of the tourists watch you and post all of the awesome photos online. I celebrated my 26th birthday with a Trapeze class and an epic night of karaoke where I performed my signature, “You Shook me all Night Long” accompanied by the sexiest dance moves and the most horrific vocals. I have learned that how you get away with any flaw (like being tone-deaf) is to cover it up with SEXY DANCE MOVES. It was the best birthday I had ever had. For the first time, I was free from ALL of the things that had previously held me back: My family, toxic romantic relationships, drugs, and myself. The future looked super fucking bright. IN FACT, the night of my birthday, Mr. Belding – you know, the Saved by the Bell teacher, YES, the real Mr. Belding (I mean, the real Dennis Haskins cause that’s his LIKE “real” name), happened to be at the bar and tell me (in only a moderately creepy way) what a bright future I had ahead of me. SO IT WAS A FACT. Except that you never know what can happen, and it’s probably best not to see the future for anything at all since it’s not real and expectations are like life’s straight jacket. It’s better to not put those on…

Six days later, on the 27th of November, I woke up with an itchy red bump on my thigh. The next day, I awoke with another on my butt. On the 30th, I got one on my elbow, and around the 2nd of December, they were all expanding. There was one on my calf that I called the sergeant, and all the others were his army, slowly invading my skin, my body, and winning faster than my immune system could train for battle. I couldn’t wrap my head around anything new that could be giving me weird rashes. EXCEPT trapeze. Maybe the bars? The chalk? The mats? MAYBE, it was the barely legal trapeze instructor I had just started seeing? Or maybe it was the buckets of coffee I was consuming?

I couldn’t tell what hurt more: my fear around what was happening to my body, or the hit my vanity was taking? I had never in my life WANTED to keep my clothes on. And, now, it was long pants plus hairy legs (because I was too scared to go near rashes with a razor) plus dense, white creams smothered on me that were accomplishing nothing except keeping drug stores in business.

I asked everyone to look at my rashes, and the answer I consistently got after the initial gasp was, “Huh. wow. interesting. weird. I mean, I have no idea what that is, BUT I can PROMISE you this.. it’s not a big deal. Give it two weeks. Rashes go away.”

I spent nights googling like a MOFO. One night I concluded I had psoriasis (which I found most terrifying because vanity) or bed bugs (which seemed like such a hassle that I’d rather it be psoriasis). I stayed up itching, sweating, panicking, and googling. I cried. I cried partially because google is filled with the most horrific images, it’s like a little panic factory on the world wide web. Go in normal, come out with PTSD. I cried because I didn’t know what was happening to me and I felt out of control. I cried because I didn’t like the messiness of life and I just wanted everything figured out. I cried because I couldn’t go to the doctor because I had no insurance, little money, and Obamacare wasn’t in place yet.

I sat and obsessed, and when I was about to leave town for a three-day shoot in Lake Arrowhead, I gave in, and let a good friend take me to his herbalist. My face was stained with tears, I was called in, and walked towards him, hoping for an answer- any answer would do. I took my pants off, AGAIN, and he took out HIS FLASHLIGHT ( Really? That seemed unnecessary in the already bright room-I looked away shamefully as I had no intention of seeing the unpleasant view UNDER A FLASHLIGHT) and then he said, “HM. No new detergents or foods? I don’t know, but these pills will help. They help with ALL skin irritations. In two days, you should be seeing a difference. It’s just a rash. I mean, or maybe its syphilis.”
COOL.

I took the pills as prescribed. I put tea tree oil on my rashes. I ate healthy. I slept. I went to shoot this film and tried to stay present. That barely legal trapeze instructor I was seeing wanted to “be there for me,” and kept checking in and singing me songs and stuff, and I was like, “you’re too young for all this, you KNOW WHAT THIS IS, RIGHT!? It’s just a fling.” It wasn’t even really a fling because my legs were too hairy and rashy for any action. Sweet guy…he was like, “No, I’m ready for marriage and children and I wanna do that with you.” I laughed out loud because we had known each other for two weeks and C’MON. I ended things abruptly, and he immediately joined the circus. My point exactly.

I emailed the herbalist three times, “The pills aren’t working what do I do?” That was when I got my first good piece of advice. He wrote back, “Jackie, you need to see a Doctor. Those herbs should be working.”

I arrived at Urgent Care the next day. It was December 10, 2013.
I felt relief just being there. I was called in quickly, and my doctor seemed perfectly competent and caring. At that time, I didn’t realize what an anomaly he was. I showed him the rashes, “It’s been two full weeks,” I said, “Nothing is working. I’ve tried 5 different kinds of creams, and tea tree oil, and herbs. I’ve had people inspect for bed bugs. I don’t know what to do? Do you think it’s psoriasis?” He looked at me from his swivel stool, “no, it’s not psoriasis or bed bugs. Have you been feeling tired or having headaches lately?” I thought about it and, it was funny, because I had been tired and I had headaches, “Yes,” I responded, “a bit of both.”
“Hm. Have you been in the woods at all?”

HOLY SHIT. That was it! Why hadn’t I put it together? On November 17th, I was in the woods. LITERALLY… IN the woods, I was half-naked ROLLING around in dirt and brush and leaves for a photo shoot. I knew then that he was going to suggest Lyme Disease. In fact, I left the shoot that day thinking, “I should check for ticks,” immediately followed by the much believed thought, “there are no ticks in California. That’s only a Northeast thing.” NOPE.

“Yes. yes. Like 3 weeks ago, I was rolling around in leaves. I hadn’t thought of that because the rash came like 10 days later,” I said. “OK, we are going to give you a steroid shot. IF what you have is an allergy then it will go away within hours of getting this shot, but if it doesn’t go away, that’s a good clue that it’s not an allergic reaction. The shot will probably make you wired for a few hours, and I’m going to test you for LYME disease.”

I left and called my mother who had been getting daily updates with images, “It’s Lyme Disease! Most likely, unless this shot helps. But that makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? I’m so relieved to have a diagnosis. Now, I just want this to be over so I can get back to trapeze.” She said, “Oh Lyme disease, shit, I wouldn’t have thought of that. OK good. You have some clarity. Now rest.” I drove home, feeling a sense of freedom. The panic I had been enduring, the uncertainty, was released, and I could breathe. It seemed like the beginning of the end of this TWO WEEK LONG nightmare. The steroid did nothing. I wasn’t wired. In fact, I fell asleep. I fell asleep partially because I was so relieved this was almost over, and I fell asleep because Lyme disease. I was so relieved that I didn’t have psoriasis or bed bugs. I was GRATEFUL that I had Lyme disease and with just a couple of antibiotics I’d get back to my “normal life.” I’d get back to TRAPEZE. I was horribly misinformed..

It’s been two and a half years, I have yet to go back to trapeze, and THAT became the least of my problems. My life has altered completely, slowly molding to a “new normal.” Lyme disease was the beginning of me becoming the woman I’ve always wanted to be, actually. I guess I wasn’t supposed to be a Cirque Du Soleil performer after all. It IS too anonymous, anyway. I’m gonna do this instead…

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