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Purgatory Chasm

Weekends are by far the hardest time. I think my whole family agrees. It's the time when theres no security of a doctor around or filled with the extra waiting time to hear back on test results. Everything always feels like its on an extra long stand still. Despite how much work has been put in, this whole time has felt like a long, standstill. I hate the uncertainty of everything. I've already expressed my lyme fears with you guys--- and with each passing day, I'm more certain, it is lyme. I have two main doctors here in Massachusetts that I've been seeing (outside of many other specialists). One thinks it's unlikely, the other states, "I would be surprised if it wasn't lyme" and "you'd be on antibiotic treatment by now if it weren't for the c. diff." Every single symptom matches. There's no way I can deny it now. I've overlooked, shrugged off, and denied it for months-- but it's real.

I've been frustrated time and time again with remarks from doctors, "you just need to take better care of yourself" or "are you drinking enough water? you need to drink more water" (as if 90 ounces of water a day wasn't enough) or "it's just anxiety, or depression, or chronic fatigue"--- "do you want ibuprofen for your pain? Maybe some aspirin?" as if I'm just sad, and not taking care of myself-- or like I want a bandaid to be a temporary cover for the pains I feel throughout my body--- or worse yet, like I actually want to be in this miserable stand still place. Every single day is day that I take care of myself, more than I ever have before. I've dealt with anxiety and even depression--- I know what those things feel like. Yes, at times I feel hopeless and helpless, but I think anyone would under these circumstances. I miss the go go go, the days filled with happy, busy moments. I miss my productivity-- the good feeling I get at the end of the day when I know life and myself have been filled with hard work and joy.

I don't know, this post isn't coming out like I thought it would. I didn't mean to come here and rant. I feel like I could write a ten page article filled with rants of this current time and the treatment (or lack of) I've received. To be quite honest, I don't even remember what I came here to say. I know I wanted to come and write--- to spill my current thoughts, but my positive thoughts got unintentionally swept away.

The goal for this week is to build a plan. I'll continue on herbals, I'm still putting much of my faith and hope in that. I also have an appointment to meet with my dietician once again. And I will also meet with a c. diff/fecal transplant researcher/doctor--- not to necessarily have a fecal transplant procedure--- I'm past that point, but instead to learn more about the c diff and what it means for my future, especially with antibiotics. And then I will meet with my third (and possibly fourth) infectious disease doctor this year. (Two infectious diseases in one year, do I win a prize? Can my prize be a cure for everyone? I'd like that.)

Internally, my goal is to continue to build my immune system--- I'm at a point where I know lyme will live inside me---there's no way around that--- and that has to be okay. But more than that, to have any sort of life, I have to find my strength through health back. I've gone through many emotions and fears, as you guys know--- and saying them out loud (or written out) last week helped. (thank you). So now I'm still just trying to feel comfort each day in this in-between-- as completely uncertain as it is. I've lost things in this process, I've lost part of myself, my normal, my routine, some friendships, some jobs, my future plans--- but I'm still here and right now, in this in-between and this unknown future--- it has to be good enough. And whatever will be, will be. I've been in uncertain and scary places before, and I've come out on better than ever, I just have to believe and know, that can happen here too.

These photos? They were taken a few weeks ago--- on a three day up swing I had. It seems that I have about seven "up days" a month now. I've always wanted to be able to take Marlowe and Alex here. It's been years since I visited-- I had spent many of my teenage days at this place. We didn't get too far on the path, but we made an effort and I'm grateful for that.

And if you're interested, this rock trail is in Sutton, MA. And appropriately enough, its called Purgatory Chasm.

-serving to cleanse, purify, or expiate.

-a marked interruption of continuity; gap

I hope you guys all had a great weekend. We originally had a trip the caribbean and mexico planned for this weekend/week, but life happens and plans have to adjust. On the upside, Alex was able to use his time off to come back up here. It's been a few weeks since we've seen him. It's been a welcome change to have him here and Marlowe has been super ecstatic to have him cooking for her. Not sure enow long he's here for (I don't really want to ask), but I'm hoping we can make a good few days out of it. Have a great week friends. Sorry for the unintentional rant and thanks for being here, despite all the not super bright, real life stuff.

marlowe's dress c/o 3claps
me: hat / pants / purse / similiar boots

The Best Gut Healing Energy Giving Breakfast Recipe

I've been wanting to talk about my diet for a while now. I mean, you guys have a pretty good idea of what we (used to) eat on the day to day around here. Not perfect eaters, we enjoy french fries and pizza, but outside of the occasional delicious extras (I love you, pizza), we're really well rounded, healthy eaters.

Well, apparently no amount of healthy can prepare you for antibiotic induced c. diff. (waugh waugh). This isn't exactly appetite inducing conversation, but the c. diff left my insides incredibly tore up-- like, my poor colon is crying heavy tears everyday. The other unfortunate issue I learned that comes with c. diff is that most doctors are in no way trained to help you recover from it. With the exception of warning me that I may now spend the rest of my life lactose intolerant (I already was, buddy) and offering more drugs, they tell you to eat whatever you want. WRONG. SO WRONG. (Theres no wonder there is such a high reoccurrence rate). Most (all??) patients who battle c. diff will be left with some form of IBS (or worse). In my gut alone, on top of being left with a good case of IBS, I also now have diverticulosis and ended up losing 10% of my body weight, leaving me incredibly malnourished and deficient in so many basic things. Short story: it sucked.

The good news is, food does heal you. Whether you've had something serious like c. diff or something slightly less worrisome like poor digestion and irregular bowels, when used and eaten correctly, food can do wonders for your gut. So no, I didn't leave the hospital eating whatever I wanted. And I am SO grateful I didn't. I plan on sharing more of the meals I've been eating in a later post, but I've got to tell you, taking the time to figure what I should and should not be eating was one of the best decisions I could have made for myself. It's been a slow and sometimes painful process, but my gut is healing. Yes, I have a lot of other problems going on now, but my gut is doing much better. And months later, I did end up being connected with (an amazing) dietician to talk about a meal plan, and she only confirmed everything I had already been doing. Go team.

Recipe after cut--

How To Make Your Own Cold Brew Coffee At Home

As promised--- a super easy recipe. And yes, I understand, coffee isn't generally considered a meal, but for Alex and I, coffee was absolutely a meal, one of our favorite meals together. Anyway, before we stat talking about the most important meal of the day, I just want to say thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I can't say enough thank you's for the comments and emails flowing in after my recent post.  I've spent many tears reading all of it. Thank you. Still trying to take each day-- and really, each moment at a time. But I really can't share my gratitude with you guys enough. For now, I'll share coffee....

Cold brew is delicious, right? I mean coffee in general is gold. I actually had to give up coffee in this mess-- and I hsve recently been given the OK to start it back up again--- or at least the okay to try it and see how it affects me. But I'm going to wait a few more weeks--- or as long as I can---which is probably a few more days-- or hours if I keep thinking about coffee, haha. Some of the perks of cold brew, if you didn't already know them:

-it lasts a lot longer than brewing a regular batch of coffee. No time? No problem. You can store it in your fridge to drink all week long for your busy schedule and work week.

-It's also a hell of a lot cheaper than buying pre-made cold brew. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's nice to splurge on your favorite bottled cold brew--- it's a great weekend treat, isn't it? But if you're drinking a lot of it, you'll be saving a ton of money making it at home.

-And you don't need a bunch of fancy equipment (not going lie, I LOVE our fancy espresso machine though, it makes life magical). You just need some good quality beans and a few cheap tools-- many of which you probably already have.

-Also? It's much lower in acid. Which is great for people struggling with tummy issues since it makes it much easier to digest. (hooray!).

Easy, cheap, delicious, easy on the gut. I mean, that's a win all around, right?

You'll need:
-6 ounces of good, fine ground coffee*
-6 cups filtered water
-large jug/pitcher/container with lid
-fine metal strainer
-unbleached coffee filter - a regular one is fine too
-chemex or place to filter coffee

*So lets chat about the coffee for a second. Theres a few things you want to look out for--- you want your coffee to be fair-trade, organic, and shade grown.
fair-trade so that the farmers are making the money they deserve and can support their families
organic so that it's better of your health and not harming the farmers
and shade grown so that rainforests aren't being chopped to grow the beans.

We purchase a big ole' five pound bag of fair-trade, organic, shade grown coffee beans online-- which offer a subscription service. There's also a three pound medium roast bag of beans. We always grind the beans ourselves for optimal freshness. But if you don't have a grinder, be sure to buy a bag of ground coffee for yourself! And/or you can always buy from these guys-- but I'm biased since I took a bunch of photos for them ;)

How to:
-carefully pour your 6 ounces of fine ground coffee into your water and mix well.
-cover with lid and let your coffee sit in a cool dry place for 12 to 18 hours. You can push it a bit longer on time, if you really need to, but 12 to 18 is best to not have your cold brew be overly bitter and intense.
-once ready, strain your coffee through a fine-medium strainer into a jug or pitcher. You can skip this skip and head straight to the coffee filter, but I wouldn't recommend it--- unless you're trying to teach yourself a lot of patience.
-take strained coffee and now filter through your coffee filter. We do this right into our chemex since it's our most convenient option, but you absolutely don't need a chemex, you can just set something up to strain it through the coffee filter.
-once filtered, you're done! Store in fridge and use as often as you'd like!
-drink as is or serve with your favorite milk. vanilla almond milk for me, please.

Voila! With about five minutes of prep time and zero action wait time, why not make some cold brew this week?! Then get really caffeinated, come back here and tell me awesome rambling stories, k? ;)

ps. I planned to do a whole post on coffee, since I surprisingly asked a good amount about coffee-- but never did. We take coffee pretty seriously in our house though ;)  For for those who inquired, our espresso machine is a bit on the pricey side--- it was a a splurge item for us--- but we have zero regrets. It's upped our coffee game by 1,000%. I'd totally recommend buying it if you're in the market for one! Our coffee grinder too. 

Today And Tomorrow

Imagine me sitting in front of you with both hands open, palms up in front of me. And in one hand I'm showing you a possible disease that will slowly and painfully wreak havoc on every end of your life, home, body, and mind. In the other hand, I'm showing you the treatment course to this disease and explaining to you that if you take this, you will probably die. Not as painfully slow and tormented, but probably rather quickly. This is my biggest fear right now.

The days are passing and I'm not showing signs of improving. I have my up days and my down days. But even in my up days, I'm far from feeling normal. And in my down days, I'm unable to get out of bed. I've gone to endless doctors appointments (sometimes up to six or seven a week) and seen endless specialists. I feel like I'm trapped in this endless circle of self induced hope and inability to find the answers or find relief. Outside of how I feel, there are few things I know--- I know I never expected to still be here. I thought by now I would have more answers--- and if no answers would be provided, I at least hoped that my body would be past this point--- that I would be on the road to self healing. I have learned that it is not--- or, rather, I should try to be hopeful and say that I might very well be on the road to healing, but the endless circles of ups and downs has unfortunately shown me otherwise.

A good, handful of doctors have told me 'lyme'. Many of you have written to me and told me to keep a look out for lyme. My symptoms do match with many of those to lyme. No part of me wants to be okay with this answer. No part of me is willing to yet  believe it or accept it. If I have lyme, I am helpless. The treatment for lyme? antibiotics? Go back a few months--- to almost the beginning of this all and find the reason I almost died: antibiotics. I've tried hard to not over think it, and especially not to read into it--- not yet. Everything is too controversial around lyme disease, thats for sure. Some say I'm low risk living in Florida. Some say no way, that it really doesn't matter, it's truly a possibility. The reactive bands that appeared positive on my test leave me asking questions. Is this lyme? I don't know, but if it is, it feels like a death sentence given my recent encounters with c. difficile.

When I think about this possibility I have the constant internal battle of shit out of luck combined with trapped in a hard place boxing an endless reappearing optimism that maybe it's all simpler this this, that it wont be lyme, and if it is, maybe I can some how overcome it anyway..... somehow. I met with an herbalist recently to start a four part regime of herbs. To treat me for multiple things-- an anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-spirochete blend, to not only help with the possibility of lyme--- but any other possibilities that are still open and lingering. As well as things to help with my digestion and weakness. I'm happy to report I've suffered no side effects from the herbs, which for me, is nothing short of a miracle--- my body reacts with great sensitivity to almost any medicinal treatments, natural or not. The only thing I can do is believe this treatment will work. And if nothing else , at least hope for some sort of placebo effect.

Over and over, a constant reminder flowing through my ears--- that the mind is powerful and I have to help my body fight this battle. Even if I'm not exactly sure what battle I'm fighting. All I know is, there is something there. I no longer believe the hopeful words that "this is part of recovery." I know my body too well to continue to believe this statement. This no longer feels like recovery. Yes, my gut is in recovery, I've seen great improvements, but I've been sensitive to this body for years and I know, there is something more. There is something that does not belong inside of me, holding me back from fully healing. An acupuncturist I saw said it best, "at this point, it doesn't matter what it is, you just need to overcome it." She followed up her statement explaining that it wasn't meant to be an ignorant phrase but rather, an intention to just keep moving forward. I'm trying.

I'm sad to say that many of my days are becoming emotionally harder. I'm starting to lose hope more often now. I think of Marlowe and I can't help but cry. I want so badly to believe that things will get better, that my life will return to what it was--- or on the preferable days, I want to believe my life will not only be what it was, but somehow be better than before. But I can't help dismiss the fear that whatever this is will kill me. I feel helpless in the possibility that I wont be able to watch her grow up.    That I might not send her to school, cook her meals, tuck her in each night, or show her the world. That everything I had hoped for this year and every year after this one might not be an option for me anymore. I think about what her life will be like without me. I know she'll be okay. I know Alex will show her love, art, food, a beautiful life--- so many of the things I hoped and hope to share with them. But I wonder what their functional life will be like. He can't raise a child alone with his career. Chef hours wont allow for it. It was already a big enough concern to what the three of us would do once Marlowe started school with the hours he works--- but if I'm not there? Then what? And I fill my mind with endless, sometimes seemingly pointless questions, trying to figure out a future that I might not be part of--- all in hopes to still, somehow make their future more manageable, less stressful, and more giving to them both. Life is so far from guaranteed. There is no guarantee in any of it--- and each day that passes with no sign of my life returning, well, I don't know, I'm just fearful and tremendously sad. My life and family has been on hold. On stand by for my health. So much sacrificed. With no promise of an outcome. I want my future. I want my future with my family, and especially with Marlowe. I want the life that I was on track for-- the life I worked so hard for. There is so much possibility in that little soul of hers. I want to watch her grow up. I know what she does will be nothing short of amazing and I want to be there to see it.

I spent years trying to find myself, trying to make my life, trying to find a comfort in my own mind, body, and soul, and find joy in my story. And I feel like I finally achieved that place where I was satisfied in my continual growth, within me and around me--- for myself and for my family. And now the days come where I feel as if the possibility of future is each day being plucked away. What will my day be like today? I don't know. Tomorrow? I don't know. Next week? I don't know. I just want to feel better. I just want to find joy and comfort in the simplicity of each waking day. I had big plans for this year, for my life and I'm not ready to give those up yet. I am not ready. I want to believe that this will pass. That this is another step in my story. That something will come out of this--- but more importantly that I will be there to see it.

I'm not sure what to do this with this space. I don't want to leave it. On the down days, there is no physical way for me to be present-- and on the up days I'm not sure what to put here. Sometimes I just want to go on, fun, colorful business as necessary, but then that doesn't always feel right. My emotions are scattered and I'm torn between how to act. Sometimes I'm hopeful with a positive outlook and I try to embrace that feeling, looking past this all and sometimes I just don't have the energy. It's been a really long time since I just poured emotions into this space. It doesn't feel like it completely belongs---  but thats a good thing I guess, showing me how good I've had it. How blessed I've been. I'm not sure what or how I'm supposed to feel now, there's no closure here. For now, life just is what it is. All I can do is hope for the best, even in the moments when I fear the worst.

Thank you again and again to those who have continually been there to support me. Through the ups and this tremendous down. I'll be sharing those recipes I promise this week--- I'm scheduling them now, so no matter what comes ahead of me this week, that promise of a bit of good is there. There are a million more thoughts and things I could write and probably should write, but for now I need to rest my mind. I hope you guys all have an amazing week. Whatever is in front of you, I hope you make it amazing.

Pictures Of Recently Enjoyed Things

mango and lychee season

many mornings. 

other mornings. 

the day she left me. she reminds me of a potato.

little sad bunny and her puppy. 

dates with them.
her art.
new little friends. 
choosing her outfit. 
a good day out--- made a new friend.
from our brunchday
jerry looks happy. 
my snuggle bunny and her snuggle bunny
marlowe made me this--- i'd say it's not a coincidence that there is a pizza sticker in the middle of the heart. 
not a great picture, but too cute not to share----
Alex and I woke up to the sound of things moving in the kitchen--- drawers closing, bowls moving, the fridge and such. We walked out to mind marlowe--- cooking. Making a salad to be specific. She made a dressing (see the vinegar and vegan mayo) and had a bunch of chopped peppers and chopped (and peeled!) carrots in a bowl. She told us she was making the salad for Alex--- but a few minutes later was dipping all the carrots in her dressing and eating them. Alex later ate the dressed peppers and said the dressing was actually really good! And  later Marlowe revealed that she cut the carrots with her teeth because her kid knife wouldn't cut them! haha! 

These photos are obviously not super recent--- the last batch of favorite pictures before heading north <3<3 Lots of New England Pictures to come. Anyway, I hope you guys all had a great week. This week started off great then hit a rocky few days--- but its part of the process. I do have more up days than down days now, so that is a huge bright side. Sorry for the overload of sponsored posts this week--- I do try to space them out a bit more, but things got a bit thrown off around here with so much time away. I hope you guys enjoyed them anyway! I personally thought it was a good mix--- but maybe I'm biased? And the socks really are the most comfortable things--- I'm wearing the high ones now.  I have a ton of photos to share, and even two recipes too! Super simple recipes, but recipes nonetheless! Hooray! Have a great weekend friends. Thanks for being here <3

Happy, Comfortable, Giving Socks That Do Not Sucks

I spent a majority of my life arguing about socks. I've never been much of a sock person until this past year. Now I have major sock love, but previously? There were some serious battles between my mother and I about sock wearing. I preferred bare feet in our (really cold) Massachusetts home and even in winter boots-- even in the snow! But now in my super old age (sarcasm), I've learned the beauty of (cozy) socks! Last year when we did this trip north, I ended stealing a pair of socks from Lisa (IOU) and wearing them for the rest of the trip--- now I know its important to prepare for my own feet-comfort and travel with socks--- I brought a decent variety to Massachusetts this time around. I've also learned there are big difference in different types of socks. I think this is where I failed for the majority of my life. Ill-fitting and ill-made socks wont make my feet happy--- they want to be comfortable or naked. I mean, I guess the same goes for all my wardrobe choices-- so this concept should have been common sense from the beginning.

I'm excited to team up with Bombas during this month-- not only because my feet are 100% happier, but also because they are such an awesome give-back company. For every sock purchased, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need. Over 300,000 pairs (!!) have been donated since launching the company in 2013! (amazing).  And with socks being one of the number one requests at homeless shelters, well, thats pretty damn awesome.

I handed Alex a few pairs of socks and excitedly said, "here, socks!" and he sort of side eyed me. He's been a sock-less man lately and stated he wouldn't be wearing socks on the trip--- I think he wanted to slowly kill me with the stench of his feet. Then one chilly day (yes, it's actually been chilly here), he put on the socks and BAM, he was hooked. He wore them almost everyday since then (and his feet started smelling a lot better). They are com-for-tab-le!

So besides the give-back nature of Bombas, what makes them so amazing for typically sock-hating people like me? Well, good technology, thats for sure. There's no annoying line that goes across your toe, there's a comfort tab in the back of the calf socks so you don't get those annoying blisters on the back of your feet-ankle area, the fabric is extra soft like a baby's butt, and their just cushy in all the right places (similar to a baby's butt as well).

And my absolute favorite comfort factor? Bombas stay in place!!! Omg, I cannot emphasis this enough. They don't slip down and get stuck in your boots or sneakers. I'm not sure how they did it, but they actually perfected socks that stay in place! One of my all time biggest pet-peeves is droopy socks--- not just on me, but on anyone. Weird, I know, I don't care, but it seriously drives me nuts to see droopy socks. Thank you droop-free socks. Phew.

So if I haven't convinced you that these are the most comfortable socks ever-- then I don't know man. Either way, you can rest assured that there is a 100% happiness guarantee. If you order a pair and think "Drea was tripping, she knows nothing about socks" and don't love them, you get a complete refund on your order, no problem.  (You'll love them). And remember, for every pair you buy, someone in need gets one too! Win, win, win.

Get 20% off your entire order by clicking HERE. Hooray! 

ps. They now offers solid colors (I need the black the black, grey, and blue to match my wardrobe) and they also have limited edition fourth of july socks! (cute!) Oh and they have kids ones too!