July 16, 2016


i recently hiked up cypress mountain. 

i got up at 6 AM (which, for many reasons, is a feat in and of itself), drove an hour, then hiked 3.5 hours in the pouring rain in 10 degree weather...but the view made it all worth it! not.

Vancouver is behind those clouds.

actually, what drove me up that mountain, what is driving many of my outdoor adventures, is a need to escape from a tough reality that has been a dark storm cloud hanging low and menacing on the horizon for the last several weeks.

we found out in june that our house was being listed. again. we went through this two years ago. (read about that here and here). obviously, it didn't sell back then... possibly because of the whole blue tarp of death - read about that in buyer beware lol. the story of the blue tarp and the fact that i was wearing one on my hike is totally ironic. i didn't think of it til i started writing this post. funny.

so the blue tarp of death bought us another 2 years in our home. my little dollar store blue tarp came in handy on my hike and provided a bit of shelter from the driving rain and wind of the day. but, alas, there are no more blue tarps to shield us against the driving elements of this latest howling storm -

our house has sold. we have to move. 

word came this week that the home we have called our own for the last 17 years has been sold. in our world, this is not welcome news. it's hard, disheartening, sad news.

after all, 'our home' was never really ours to begin with. it was always owned by someone else. now a new someone owns it. they bought it AND they want to live in it. the nerve!

so we will have to leave...by december 2016.

{She stood in the storm and when it did not blow her away,
 she adjusted her sails.}

i do not want to leave my home; the only home my youngest two have ever known. and i don't want to leave this city i love with all my heart. yet, the inclement conditions of the vancouver housing (rental) market and rental bidding wars may blow us clear across the country.

i don't know if i can adjust my sails to that.

this latest life storm has got a mountain of emotion to traverse. the winds of it are a howling cold front cutting an icy jagged tear through my heart. i've got a tidal wave of feelings blitzing their way through my body and a torrential downpour of sadness cascading down my cheeks. the dense, dark cloud of it all sits low and thick obliterating my view... of where to go or how to move on from here.

they say home is where the heart is... but my heart is here. in the mountains i climb. in the forests i bike. in the ocean i kayak. and in east van with the kids we work with.

it's gonna take awhile to adjust my sails to this one.

in fact, i've (we've) been grappling with this for several weeks already. and it's just been too hard to write about or speak of because that would mean i'd (we'd) have to really face the full brunt of this storm. this is hard on so many levels and for many reasons. however, we can no longer ignore or deny that a move is looming overhead and there appears to be nothing affordable on the horizon. 

where to go? or more like where can we afford to live? well isn't that the 50 million dollar question.

we've been looking for awhile now and there is nothing that compares to what we are currently in - both for size or price. pretty much anything 3 bedroom for us; even a shared living space (top floor or basement), would mean a complete redefinition of the word budget. And finding an extra grand per month is not something we can adjust the budget to. 

this is hard to share... but we're putting this out there in the hopes that you will share it or that you will know someone who knows someone who has a place we could settle in to.


we'd prefer to stay in current east richmond neighborhood (avery is starting grade 8 in sept)
make a move into east van (where graham works and where we have always hoped to live.)

a 3 bedroom house or townhouse with adequate storage; (clean, bright, quiet, mold-free environment is needed as both Parker and i have significant chronic health issues)
enclosed garage/storage area as we have bikes

dog-friendly as we have a small, non-shedding dog. (harrison is almost human but you know, not everyone sees it that way, so we have to classify him as a dog.)

move-out date on or before december 1,2016. (we do not want to move at christmas time)

our current rent is $1640. there is not much room in the budget to pay a whole lot more than that. 

May 20, 2016


so i've recently had a relapse of bartonella (co-infection of lyme). 

i started antibiotic treatment (septra ds) for it on april 30. on may 2, i had a bit of a herx (a die off of the bacteria which temporarily increases symptoms) but for the most part it was very manageable (rare) and it didn't slow me down too much. 

i've even been feeling a bit grateful for this relapse because the anxiety i've been living with since getting strep in spring 2014 has been virtually non-existent since starting septra and experiencing the herx on may 2. POW! how fabulous is that? that's been an unexpected and superb side effect i will happily take. (and it could possibly mean that this lingering anxiety that we thought was residual damage from strep is possibly related to an active bartonella infection.)

so all in all, i've actually been managing this relapse ok...until this week that is. 

monday i had an awesome time ripping trails with my eldest, taylor and his dog lily. i was just so happy and grateful to be out there doing that. i never ever take for granted the ability to be able. 

Delta Watershed, May 16, 2016

tuesday we had friends for dinner. i was really tired when i went to bed that night but you know, i had to actually, horror of horrors, cook that day and that is always exhausting to me. i woke up on wednesday morning to an explosion of treatment side effects and a pretty intense flare in symptoms - burning nerve pain in my feet, fatigue, brain fog and stiff and inflamed joints. by the evening, the twitching and tremoring had set in.

i wasn't entirely sure if it was a herx, side effects or a bad flare but what i did know for sure was that i'm in for a bad spell.


in a flood of tears, plans for the day and weekend were cancelled, phone calls and emails were placed to my doctors, and a treatment plan set in motion. then i dragged my aching, quaking body off to bed. 

i've been in bed ever since.

once again life comes to a sudden and abrupt halt. rather than heading out on my bike for the many adventures we had planned for this long weekend, i'm riding out a plethora of debilitating physical and neurological symptoms in bed.

not at all how i envisioned this weekend going.

this is hard. the hilly terrain of chronic lyme with its unpredictable crashes, cycling symptoms and ever-changing landscape is hard to ride out.

but this is the nature of the beast.

Squamish - May 14, 2016

"If you are feeling frightened about what comes next, don't be. 
Embrace the uncertainty. Allow it to lead you places. Be brave as it challenges you to exercise both your heart and mind as you create your own path toward happiness. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present, each moment as it comes because you will never get another one quite like it."  ~ Everwood

i'm trying to stay positive. after all, this could be over as quickly as it started. on the other hand, some times a flare marks the start of a long, slow, painful uphill grind that takes months to recover from.

at any rate, i'm trying to use the down time constructively and wisely... to watch grey's anatomy. ha ha. to blog. to create. to process. to organize the photos on my laptop. oh snap! that could take years. to remember to have compassion for my body. to remember that i am strong and i will come back from this. 

the return of my neurological symptoms reminded me of the recording we made during one of my tremor episodes back in october 2013. during my laptop tidy up and in between episodes of greys, i found it. seeing as it is lyme disease awareness month, flashback friday on IG, and i'm once again living with similar symptoms (albeit not as bad), i've decided to post it. (pardon the editing - i'm no editor plus i had to slice and dice it to get it to fit within IG's 60 second video limitations)


i hope it will help shed light on this beast's confounding nature.

from the debilitating yet subtle nuances of it; the fatigue, pain and brain fog that are not visible to the casual observer to the more obvious symptoms such as twitching, paralysis and memory loss.

the bacteria itself is a beast that morphs and changes and is able to silently and suddenly attack your organs and central nervous system in the blink of an eye. you really can be fine and living life one minute and the next you can't get out of bed or think straight.

aside from the twitching, i don't look sick in the video. i'd bet most people would say i even look healthy. this is not unique to me. most people with lyme (or other chronic illnesses) don't 'look' sick -  at least not if you are on the outside looking in. 

the abrupt shifts in ability and our healthy appearances can impact the way others perceive us and cause them to question the severity of the illness we live with.

compounding the confusion is that most of us work really hard to disguise or mask symptoms when we are out in public. which, i guess in some ways, defeats the purpose of trying to seek understanding but most of the time it's just easier to try to appear 'normal' rather than try to explain this inexplicable beast to those who don't have it.

and, sometimes, we hide it because when we have been open or vulnerable about the true nature of this beast, we have been shamed, ridiculed or accused of attention-seeking or over-exaggerating.

i hope this video can shed some light on that. i think we all live with some hidden pain or hurt that impacts us in ways no one else can see. i like to think that if we believe this to be true, then it's not such a far stretch to believe that someone can be seriously sick and yet look fine.

be kind. you never know what kind of battle someone is fighting behind closed doors.

May 16, 2016


i had an appointment with my therapist a few days ago. i was supposed to start neurofeedback to help treat the baseline anxiety disorder i've acquired as a result of strep and lyme. 

as i was driving to my therapist's office (which is a 45 minute drive from my home) i was hit with a wave of anger and sorrow so deep and so wide that by the time i arrived in her office i was so ticked off i was nearly levitating. needless to say, neurofeedback was postponed and the entire 90 minute session ended up being devoted to working through my feelings. a lot of f-bombs were spewed and tears shed. 

there were several triggers...mainly to do with lyme disease and the diabolical darkness and utter insanity that surrounds it. from the politics; to the general public's apathy; to the medical ignorance; or the blatant denial of it; to the relentless, endless suffering it unleashes on our family and other families. (i've also recently suffered a bartonella relapse which adds fuel to the fire. 

generally i'm pretty measured in what i say in regards to the anger i feel towards the mainstream medical establishments incomprehensible arrogance and absurd denial of lyme disease.

my anger is very justified but i don't want to be consumed by it. i don't want to come out of this battle bitter. vengeful. hateful. i don't want to propagate that in others either. so i blew off steam in my therapists office. that helped. i've simmered down considerably but as i've been sitting here reflecting and processing, words tumbled from my heart into my fingertips and onto my screen. 

from where i sit...

currently, there is a lyme conference going on in ottawa (may 15-17) i should be there. but i can't be. i can't even watch it online. maybe that is very un-advocatey (is that even a word?) of me. that is the reality. we live the HORROR of this disease every damn day of our lives. sparky has lost 7 YEARS of his childhood to this disease. i've lost 10 years. taylor missed out on his grad and the last several years of his teens. it has ripped our lives to shreds and our story is but one of many. i have huge respect for all those standing in the gap and fighting for change in ottawa.

dear friends and family;

please hear me on this. those folks who have gone to ottawa are advocating for you. they are wearing their hearts on their sleeves and sharing their heart wrenching stories of misdiagnosis and mistreatment of lyme disease to the federal government, politicians and convening medical professionals for ALL canadians. you guys! they are doing this on your behalf because if the current guidelines and diagnostic testing of lyme does not change their stories could become your stories.

in fact, that IS happening. every day in doctor's offices across canada, lyme disease is being blatantly dismissed and arrogantly denied. friends, i am currently walking a family thru the confounding process of having to pay for medical care in our 'free' public system because BC doctors are still misinformed and refusing to treat lyme. they had the tick. the child had the bull's eye rash (which is clinical slam dunk as far as diagnosis goes) and their doctor still brushed them off and said it was nothing to worry about. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? my gosh, canada, stop the apathy and denial...families are losing their lives over a treatable and curable tick bite because of archaic medical dogma.

lastly, to my dear friends living with lyme - keep telling your stories and standing up for justice. even though, at times, you may feel like a broken record, be accused of being hysterical or overstating risks, or that the fight feels futile and that no one is listening. YOUR STORY MATTERS. your life matters. your suffering matters. your voice matters. 

you are making a difference.

thank you from the bottom of my heart.

love s.