Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Illest Optimist: What DO you do all day?

This is a guest blog written by Ashley Strommen from Scottsdale, Arizona who writes her own blog called Illest Optimist. For two years Ashley was was mis-diagnosed, mis-understood, and mis-erable! After months of diagnostic testing she found out the culprit was Lyme Disease and the diagnosis has changed her life. Through her blog she uses her spunky voice to teach about health, shower those around her with positivity, and fight for Lyme Awareness. 

What do you do all day?

I’ve had people ask me, ‘ What do you do all day? Aren’t you BORED? ‘
For all the inquisitive minds out there, let’s clear this up:
Here’s a list of what you may THINK I do all day and a perfectly descriptive soundtrack to listen to while you read:
  • Watch daytime talk shows: Kelly Ripa’s cute tiny butt, Dr. Phil’s endless health rants, and Ellen’s awkward dance moves
  • Grub on junk food
  • Sleep & Chillax
Here’s a list of what I ACTUALLY do all day and a perfectly descriptive soundtrack to listen to while you read:
  • Wake up because of searing pain at anywhere from 4-6AM
  • Make hot lemon water (fresh lemon essence from the previous days juicing) and sour face chug to get a teensy bit less nauseous while waiting for the sauna to heat up
  • Take a 30 minute infrared sauna while reading the book The Secret and repeating daily mantras or some light monk-like prayer
  • Shower and scrub off the toxins that seeped through my pores in the sauna while trying not to throw up (brings back flashbacks of college)
  • Painfully get dressed in ‘normal healthy people clothing’ of jeans and a tank top to feel like less of a stay at home loser (with the exception of footy PJ’s which I sometimes wear to feel like an outlandish superhero)
  • Read an inspirational book and rest for a half hour/hour or sleep because the mere act of showering and dressing exhausts me
  • Clean dinner dishes from the night before (unless the busy boyfriend who has a billion things on his plate has graciously taken care of these already)
  • Make daily green juice: take all ingredients out of fridge (2 lemons, 1 apple, 1 kiwi, ½ jalapeƱo, spinach, kale, parsley, cucumber), cut and peel veggies and fruit, put through juicer, clean juicer, clean kitchen counters, put juice in fridge (I’m too sick at that point to actually drink the juice)
  • Make my beautiful roommate bfriend lover 2.5 over-easy eggs and a protein shake (in magic bullet blend 1 ripe banana, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, some milk, 2 ice cubes, and a kiss)
  • Make daily salad: mornings are when I feel the best so I need to prepare nutritious food for later in the day when I’ll be too sick to make it. I prepare a salad of kale, spinach, tomatoes, onion, smoked salmon with a dressing of apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and a splash of olive oil; put salad in fridge as I’m too sick to eat it right than
  • Take my daily 10 supplements with water
  • Read an inspirational book and rest for a half hour/hour or sleep because the mere act of juicing and prepping food makes it impossible to function
  • Spend an hour drinking the darn green juice (hard for me to ingest anything but drinking this helps)
  • Complete “sick work” for a few hours: study for my nutrition certification, write blog posts, investigate clean energy sources, research new Lyme treatments, read health blogs, analyze real estate market, listen to inspirational speech’s or church sermons online
  • Attempt to eat my prepared salad; usually takes me around an hour or two to choke it all down
  • Assemble and drink Mediclear Plus (gross poop powdered nutrition supplement that I mix with water, ground flax seed, and one ice cube)
  • Complete “sick work” for another few hours
  • Catch up with mantoy when he comes home
  • Prepare and eat dinner: usually consisting of quinoa, black rice, or wild rice, chicken (for the man of the house) or fish (for both of us), and baked or steamed vegetable (bok choy, carrots, edemame, or potatoes etc.)
  • Watch an episode or two of Criminal Minds, Law and Order SVU (because I’m OBSESSED with Iced T- yes that’s what I call him), Modern Family, New Girl, or The Mindy Show with the boyfriend
  • In bed asleep by 7pm or if it’s a crazy late night 8pm
  • Two days a week I complete all these tasks (minus the ‘sickwork’) and undergo 3 hours of treatment
Lyme is not the same as the Flu in which you stay home, chill, and rest for a few days. I’m either sick from the Lyme or sick from my Lyme treatments every day and have been for over two years.
Therefore I can’t grub on whatever crap is lying around because this is the time when my body needs a high dosage of nutrients more than ever. Because I can barely stomach food I need to be incredibly selective with every item I put in my body and make sure they are products that will help speed my recovery and provide me with necessary energy.
As much as I’d like to chill all day, I can’t. I need to have a purpose and a will to live. I need to accomplish tasks to feel good about myself. If I didn’t do this routine I fear my symptoms would be even worse than they currently are, and I’d be overwhelmingly depressed.
I know I’m a nutcase but I’m hoping this neurotic routine is the driving force of my betterment. My schedule may seem a little excessive for a sick mongrel but I’m so proud of the strides I’m making and anticipative for the next few months of recovery.
Lastly here is my FAVORITE song on the planet because I truly believe everyone needs a daily dose of my life-long-love future-ex-husband mohawk-man-crush tattoo’d-dream-boat Travis Barker (maybe if I had him playing drums for me every morning I’d get better lickedy split… ya think?):

A quick note from Sarah: I am excited to announce that Ashley and I will be guest blogging for each other once a month! I strongly urge you to go check out the rest of Ashley's blog posts on Illest Optimist. Our blogs exhibit the perfect juxtaposition--she is treating Lyme the natural route while I am using antibiotics (along with non-traditional medicine), so our journeys to wellness will be different. This is really important for those with Lyme to know--that no one method of treatment fits everyone with Lyme. Our symptoms and co-infections differ so vastly that each Lymie needs an individualized treatment method. Remember, it is YOUR body and your decision on how you want to treat your Lyme; you know your body best. I hope you enjoyed her blog post, there will be more coming soon! I picked this particular post to begin with since she does just an excellent job explaining what people think we do and what we really do on a daily basis. This is a great one to share with family and friends who do not quite understand that having Lyme is a full-time job. And beautiful Ashley (pictured here), along with so many others with Lyme, fits that Lyme adage that most of us face, "But you don't look sick?"