Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Take Charge of Your Life

Note: this post originally appeared on my blog, The Art of Living with Lyme, for people struggling with sickness or chronic pain and disease. I just felt like I should share it with you all here today at Buckaroo Barbie, because it can apply to all of us, in many different situations. Just replace the "sickness" part with whatever you're struggling with! ;) 

What keeps you going? What is your inspiration to not give in, give up, throw in the towel and just say, “This is too hard, to hell with you all!”?

The thing is, those of us with health problems are stronger than we even really know. We are tougher than the average Joe. Why? Because every day we wake up we don’t know whether it’s going to be rotten and physically, mentally and emotionally difficult, or it could be just fine. We have to have strength of will to just wake up in the morning some days.

Don’t ever loose your will to fight. Don’t passively fold your hands, sit back and wish for the long ago days when you were totally healthy. YOU have to take ownership of your health and YOU have to be willing to fight. Yes, it will be difficult and painful and full of ups and down, just like the rest of life.

But I know you can succeed.  I know, from personal experience that you can start making a difference in your lifestyle, how you can change your thinking and eventually, how you feel.

When I was at my sickest with Lyme I was not able to walk, I threw up everything I ate until all I could keep down was plain bread and 7up, and I was in so much pain that I was on Vicodin around the clock. I asked my doctor for something for relief…the pain was just too great for me to handle. I felt like I couldn’t take it any more. When the only things that were suggested to me were medical marijuana or Oxytocin, I decided to fight back.

I made the choice to not allow things to happen to me, to suffer in silence. I decided to actively WORK at getting as healthy and whole as I could be. I started small, with baby steps. When the pain got to where it was really bothering me, I would stretch. At first I was only able to stretch for a few minutes at a time, but even the few minutes offered some instant relief. I made changes to my diet by cutting out food with preservatives, processed fast food and replacing it with organic food. Within 2 months I didn’t need ONE pain pill. Not even Advil or Aleve.  And how I was doing emotionally directly affected how I felt physically. I started trying to learn how to handle stress and things that upset me. I’m still working on that…

It was, and still is, a learning process. It takes small, small steps, falling down, getting back up and trying again. It involves the help of your family and friends and it involves an indomitable will. Which, I know you have.
And if you feel like you don’t have that strength of will, you can work on acquiring it.

There are some days when pain is my companion again and I stay in bed with my hair all a mess and mascara under my eyes…but they are few and far between. The good days far outweigh the bad, and for that I am so thankful. It took the fear of medicines that I didn’t want in my body to jump kick me into actively fighting for my life….for having quality of life…to start living, not existing.

Find what inspires you, what makes you want to fight. Look at it, keep it in front of you and call up whatever it is that strengthens your will when you want to give up.
It could be the thought of the things that you could do if you had more energy, less pain and an ability to handle anxiety, a family member or all the things you want to achieve with your life.

You’re a fighter. I know you are. Don’t take nothin lying down.

And if you have any questions about making changes, or just need someone to talk to, I’m always here, from one sickie (or Buckaroo Barbie!) to another.

xo xo Liz 

Photos via Tumblr


  1. Hey Liz, thanks for this one as well. This post really hits home, as my husband (who I really can only describe as a Cowboy) suffers from chronic pain due to a severe shoulder injury... The doctors only want to give him pain meds.. All of this has led to stomach trouble and anxiety. they say he just has to live with his condition. He has recently started eating better and living a healthier lifestyle, and his stomach Is already feeling better and he is feeling stronger. Thanks for writing this and giving people struggling with something hope and inspiration. You should be super proud, and never let it get ya down!

    1. Heather, I am so sorry for your husband (and for you because it is SO frustrating to watch someone you love be in pain), chronic pain is exhausting. That's fantastic he's seeing some success with changing his diet. Learning to eat clean and organic was really hard for me at first but I've FINALLY gotten into a routine, and the result is I have my life back. Preservatives and hormones also really affect how I if I have pizza out at Pizza Hut, I instantly have pain. If I make pizza here at home, I feel totally fine. Weird. You guys probably already know this, but a high quality pro-biotic is super important to healing and the stomach's good bacteria. I use some from a company called Theralac, just in case you're looking for one! Thank you so much for your kind comment, literally made me feel like I'm floating! :) xo xo Liz

  2. Hey Liz, this post is just a little of what I have needed! I just found out that I am allergic to gluten and living on a college campus when I found out has been extremely hard and have been struggling to figure out what kinds of foods I can and can't eat, it has also triggered one of my chronic illnesses because I'm never feeling well. Anyways I have been getting really down on myself this week and have no idea what to do to get out of this "slump" and this helped a little!

    1. Beth, I am so glad! Diving into trying to eat clean is overwhelming, especially in the world today. And college and traveling are really hard to try and get in a good routine of eating good: Adrian and I were just in Texas for 6 days and there was no fridge in our hotel room, so it was really hard! I keep a baggie of almonds/walnuts/rasins in my purse and try and eat every two hours so I don't starve. Good luck and if you need any help or just someone to complain to, I totally understand the frustration! xo xo Liz