Rachel is a traveling wedding and elopement photographer from La Crescent, Minnesota. In 2018, she was diagnosed with two typical Lyme co-infections, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis, but she wasn’t diagnosed with Lyme until May 2019.
Working From Home
Luckily, with Rachel’s chosen profession, she gets to spend most days working from home. When she does have shoots scheduled, however, it can be very hectic and busy. Because of Lyme, she has had to learn to slow down, and take breaks. She gets fatigued much quicker than she used to, and in her line of work that has been quite an adjustment.
Taking Lyme an Hour at a Time
Like many others with Lyme, every day is different. Because of this, it is hard to make plans ahead of time. Some days she feels good, others she feels like she took 10 steps backward. Some days are so unpredictable, that she has to take them hour by hour.
Even though this has been extremely hard for her, she has learned how to navigate this new normal, and has gotten better at learning to preserve her energy. In her own words, “It’s all just a learning process and listening to your body.” We couldn’t agree more.
When it Comes to Food
Rachel and her husband have gotten used to eating totally different things for each meal. She has learned that eating certain foods, and being very strict with her diet helps her feel better. She would never ask her husband to eat this way, though.
For the most part, she has liked changing her diet, and enjoys the way it makes her feel. It gets really hard in social situations where a healthy choice is hard to come by. Most of her friends understand, though, and are supportive of her dietary restrictions. By no means is she perfect with her diet, but she tries her best.
Rachel has issues with insomnia but finds that if she forces herself to get up early, and workout in the mornings, that she has an easier time falling asleep at night. Not getting enough sleep is a huge thing when you’re already sick. Your body needs all the rest it can get with any chronic illness. In her trial and error, Rachel has found that, “melatonin and l-theanine helps too!”
Having someone there by your side can make all the difference. For Rachel, that person is her husband. “I don’t know what I would do without my amazingly supportive husband. I would be lying if I said there hasn’t been some tough times. At the end of the day it has made us a lot closer and has taught us how precious life is.” Often times, Lyme can make you feel alone, and may even make you want to push people away. Don’t let it. Support is so important to your mental and emotional health.
Her Advice to You
When asked what advice she would give to other Lymies, Rachel said, “Diet is everything. I noticed big changes when I made changes to my diet, and when I break them, I can feel it. I am young and I am human, so I try to live my life, but I just know that it comes with a cost now.” She also told us about a powerful quote she read once. It was written as a caption on Instagram, from a fellow chronic illness sufferer. It read, “To understand a chronic illness is to understand that it is persistent by nature. What ails me is woven into every fiber of who I am. It is part of my mind, body, and soul. There is no cure for my disease. There is no feeling better. There are simply just good days, bad days, and okay days in between. Because – healing is not linear “-Sher Castellano.
From Rachel we’ve learned that offering your body the nutrients it deserves will aid in your healing and lessen symptoms. She also taught us to allow ourselves to receive support from those we love, and the strength that can come from admitting you need help. Healing isn’t linear, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t been healing.
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