I am now close to 6 months post stem cells and want to share some tips that really helped me focus on healing and getting through the 100 days.
I realize my weekly posts focused on the positive improvements, but I want to reiterate I did have a lot of ups and downs and fatigue through the 100 days as well as lots of external stress that was out of my control and took a toll on my energy and healing. By focusing on the positives each week, I felt it helped my healing journey rather than focusing what was not good. Being positive is how I chose to go through the experience, as I believe it really helped me stay grounded and focused on my health.
Once I got to the 8-9 week mark, I really experienced a shift. I am currently at the 5.5 month mark post stem cells and I feel great! I am planning to give a detailed update of how I am doing at my 6 month mark in a few weeks.
The points I talk about in this post really helped me on my journey to wellness and I hope sharing this information can help others on their path as well.
1. Remember It's Not An Overnight Fix
It took all of us a long time to get sick, it's going to take a long time to recover. Granted the stems work much quicker than other treatments, but it’s still not an overnight fix. Sometimes stems can take 6, 9 even 12 months to heal us. Be patient. Even though I am feeling good at this stage, there are many layers of my body that are still healing and recovering and I am being patient with all of it. It’s truly a miracle to me that so much shifted so quickly, but some things do take longer than others and I have learned to be patient in this process.
2. You Are Not Fighting Alone Anymore
With other Lyme treatments, you can feel like it's you against millions of microbes and toxins. With stem cells, when I felt discouraged I always reminded myself that I had an army of millions of stem cells on my team working full time to get me well. I printed a picture of myself holding my stem cells and seeing that picture always helped to remind me I was being supported and had a great “team” in place.
3. Try To Not Fixate On And Dissect Every Symptom
As Lyme patients, we can get so used to trying to “solve and stop” every symptom or flare that comes up and uncover what is causing it. Since so many of us are let down by the medical system and doctors, it is a survival instinct to become our own doctors and solve everything for ourselves. With stems, it's important to try and let go of that as much as you can. The first 100 days are a good time to let your body learn start coping with the ups and downs, flares and changes in symptoms. You don't have to know what every symptom is and why you are experiencing it. Let it come and go. Eventually it will go away for good.
4. Get Out Of The Habit Of Constantly Wanting To Treat
This kind of goes hand and hand with not fixating on each symptom, but it's important to talk about on its own. When symptoms flare, don’t try to stop them, treat them or detox them.
Try to ride things out. Let your body start learning how to cope with the flares. Let your body learn to mount an immune response and detox on its own. Let your body go through the healing process and rest. Your body knows how to heal if you let it have the chance to work it out on its own. Now is the time to take away the training wheels and let it ride on its own.
Also, another thing I have noticed with people considering stem cell treatment is starting to plan their next treatments if the stems don’t work. Don't do this.
Do not go into this treatment with that state of mind. If you are already planning a new treatment protocol post stems, stem cells may not be the right option for you. What you should be focusing on is what you want to do with your new life once you are better. Start planning those things, not more treatments. Break the vicious cycle of constantly planning your next treatment.
5. Replace The Time You Previously Spent On Treatment With Self-Care
This can also be a tricky phase in healing. Healing from Lyme can become a full-time job. Between the doctor appointments, the IVs, the supplements and medications, the hours of detox and body work, you can easily spend 30+ hours a week doing treatments. It can be a bit abrupt to transition from full-time treatment to no treatments at all. It definitely is an uncomfortable transition, but it's sort of like jumping into a cold pool on your road to recovery.
What I recommend that can ease this transition is replace those treatment times with self-care. Self-care is an important piece of a healthy lifestyle whether you are healthy or sick. Try meditation, journaling, adult coloring, going for a walk, sitting outside and getting some fresh air, practice gratitude, the list goes on and on.
Shortly after my stem cells, I made myself a list of the things that help me feel less stressed and I tried to do as much of that as possible every day to transition to healing. It was helpful to see it written down and start putting more of it into place everyday.
For me, a huge one was going to the beach, getting sun and meditating. I made it a point to go to the beach every morning and meditate in the sun. I was lucky to be healing while the weather was still nice, but there are plenty of things you can do even in winter. Find your happy place and go there every day.
6. Slow Down While Healing And Don’t Try To Do It All
This is a time to really slow down and let your body heal. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t do all the things you wanted to do in the 100 days. Learn to listen to your body and rest. If that means you watch shows on Netflix for a few weeks that's ok. If that means you sleep, that is ok. Listen to your body and let it rest. You heal the most when you are resting and sleeping.
7. Don't Try To Be Perfect
I wanted my 100 days to be the most stress-free days of my life, and they ended up being quite the opposite. As a perfectionist, I had imagined myself almost in a safe bubble for the time, but that bubble burst in the first few weeks. My dog was really sick, I had some overwhelming life stresses that were out of my control and I got accidentally glutened a few times, which really takes me down. I found myself stressing about the stress and quickly realized that the stress was more detrimental to my health than whatever was going on. I forced myself to let go and ride things out, something that has always been difficult for my Type A personality.
I can't stress this point enough. Don't stress about every little detail and if it's going to affect your stem cells or not. You are going to be just fine. Just do the best you can and enjoy the healing. Relax and really start to learn to let things go. Easier said than done, I know but it is very important for healing.
8. Change Your Relationship With Your Body
We tend to feel betrayed and angry at our bodies with everything we have gone through to get better. Now is a good time to start changing that relationship and learn to love your body and trust it again. Our bodies need us to be supportive and feel loved more than ever right now. Self Care is a great way to start to develop a healthier relationship with your body, but also really learning to listen to your body is key.
9. Unfollow Facebook Groups
Facebook groups can be very helpful sometimes to help guide us to treatment and ask questions. It also provides a place for us to have community when many of us can’t get out of bed. At the same time, they tend to keep us in a whirlwind of anxiety, what ifs and a lot of self-doubt, all of which you do not need once you have selected your treatment and are trying to heal.
One thing that really helped me was unfollowing all the Lyme and sickness Facebook groups and adding things into my feed that inspired me and that I looked forward to when I recovered. Design, travel, architecture, French Bulldogs, things happening in LA, healthy food etc. This is another place where it’s helpful to make a list of things that inspire you and that you want to do when you recover. Start putting those thoughts and images in your head instead of constant panicked posts about illness. Once you are well, you can always go back and share your journey and success, but when you are in the thick of healing, it’s best to take some space for yourself and set some healthy boundaries.
10. Believe And Trust In Your Treatment
You made the decision to get stem cells so really give it a chance to work. It can be easy for us to doubt our decision, especially if symptoms flare or get worse before they get better, but try and squash the self-doubt that comes in, even when it's hard. Just because you feel worse or don't feel good right away, does not mean they are not working. It does get better and it does get easier. Just hold on tight for the ride, it can be a wild one.
Make Your Life Easier During Your Healing
Reducing day to day stress during healing is key. Check out my blog post on How To Make Your Life Easier During Healing for lots of tips.
I am a Certified Health Coach helping people heal from Lyme, Mold and Autoimmune Disease. Learn more about my journey and how we can work together.
Do you need help on your healing transition? Make sure to check out my Transitioning Back To Life Coaching Program.