The last two weeks, I have witnessed the most dramatic changes in my symptoms, which has led me to wonder what more time here would do for me. What more time in a different environment would do for anyone suffering from chronic illness.
I share the following report because the effects of overseas travel can be profound. For some, it may be harmful, but in my case, I have observed mostly the opposite. Have a look:
1) For the first time in nearly three years, I can get up at seven a.m. and hop out of bed almost immediately, whereas at home, I awaken to heaviness and a body that needs an hour of persuasion to get moving.
2) The clouds in my brain have vanished. I can sit at a computer and crank out a blog post without stopping and stewing and stumbling over words. I can read a novel in Spanish without having to re-read the lines several times. At home, I don't even want to bother with a book in another language.
3) I can eat whatever the heck I want and I still feel pretty normal afterwards. Deviations are allowed, whereas at home, the mere mention of the word "gluten" sends my body into a tailspin. And I don't even need digestive enzymes in Costa Rica. If I do, I then I haven't noticed.
4) I can sleep eight hours and feel pretty decent. At home, I can't get by on less than nine.
5) My breathing problem, tachycardia and postural hypotension have, of late, been slightly less pronounced.
6) Anxiety? What anxiety?
My back pain is worse, but this is from lugging a liter of salt water around all day long. And while I'm nowhere near healed, if I had to rank my symptoms on a scale of one to ten, at home, on average, I feel like a four or five. Here in Costa Rica, and especially these past two weeks, I have felt like a six or seven.
So why? Is it just the green trees exuding oxygen? The salt water air of the beach? How about all the walking I'm doing, even though my body protests against too much exercise? Is it being outdoors all day long, in the sunshine? Is it the fact that I only think about my illness fifty percent of the time, instead of eighty? Does it have to do with being away from my computer and cell phone for most of the day? Or being away from responsibility, and desperate thoughts of survival (though they still come to mind here)?, or the contamination of the city where I live? Is the food fresher? Is it all a product of my imagination or, knowing that I have to get around, I just do?
Possibly a combination of all of the above.
Have you ever had the chance to get away and wondered the same?
Should I move to Costa Rica to see if the magical healing powers continue to exert their effects upon me? But what would a single lady with Lyme do in a place like this? I could only lie on the beach for so many days before the crazy birds of boredom would flock to my brain. Moving to paradise is another question that throws more variables into the health equation, since visiting another country is one thing and living there, quite another.
In any case, I am evidence that a change of environment can aid the healing process. You might try it yourself one day, even if it means making just a small change--from one bedroom to another, from one city to another--or, if you are like me, from one country to another.