This is the first of 3 articles
1. Leading when things fall apart
2. Systems and systemic conditions collide to create an epidemic
3. MBSR and mindfulness for health and leadership
Entrepreneurship hits the rocks
Creating a small consulting firm with an emphasis on online products has been hard work. When things started falling apart in my life and for my business, it became a rapid unraveling. Being an entrepreneur demands constancy, resilience, and the ability to keep going, no matter what. Losing my home and a 23+ year marriage took the wind out of my sails. I kept trying to move the business forward, but after moving to California from Nevada, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease, and I came face to face with my own incapacity to accomplish anything.
Leading Through Conversation: AIR
The ICO group of 2012 created a suite of valuable products and services designed to support leaders who want to up their game and use the best of their brains and language to improve relationships and results. We were and are very close to launching the suite of products we call AIR: Advocacy, Inquiry, and Reflection. It includes an ebook, an eLearning program that is an interactive adventure, with white papers, slides, webinars, and podcasts.
As the ground beneath me swept away and the seas got heavy, launch remains on the horizon but oh, so far away.
Surrendering to what is
As I look back, I can see that Lyme disease hit me awhile ago. The grinding fatigue, pain in the joints and muscles, a headache that never goes away, dizziness, and swirling thoughts, neurological firing that throbs through my body, plus a slew of other symptoms that are painful and debilitating have been with me for over a year.
Lyme Disease: Nasty Ticks
Learning about Lyme disease has been scary. Tick-borne disease has become a widespread epidemic because of several systemic factors that I’ll talk about in my next article, the second in this series.
Last year I was bitten by a tick that was infected with the borrelia bergdorferi bacteria, as the spirochete, or spiral shaped, bacteria are named. I had the telltale bulls eye bite with accompanying rash on my abdomen. I began one course of antibiotics, then another, but when tested recently, the bacteria were still very present, and serious treatment was required.
The bacteria proliferate in cerebrospinal fluid and create colonies in collagen. B. bergorferi secrete a powerful neurotoxin that damages nerves and brain, wreaking havoc on the bacterial host’s body. Hosts are humans and mammals such as deer, dogs, horses, etc. Dogs and horses can be killed by the neurotoxic effects. The bacteria elude the immune system with many clever defenses that change continually, from protein outer shells or cysts to escape immune responses and antibiotics.
Long & Difficult Cure
It takes months of antibiotics to even begin to eliminate the bacteria. Controversy surrounds Lyme disease, including disputes about appropriate tests for determining the presence of the bacteria and conflict about short- and long-term treatment options. I was fortunate to find a good doctor that knows how to treat Lyme and who has helped patients with the disease for many years. I am very grateful for my doctor’s knowledge and support. I want to emphasize that I was lucky to find her. My first doctor misdiagnosed and under- treated me, leaving the bacteria to flourish within me.
My doctor’s protocol is extensive. I take 4 different antibiotics with vitamins, especially B and D, as well as minerals, herbs, and herbal essences. It is a comprehensive and long-term regime. My doctor says I won’t start feeling better until I’ve had 3 months of treatment. But, I am at the beginning of month 3, and optimistic.
I have a couple of friends that were diagnosed and suffered terribly with the disease (the neurotoxins attacked one friend’s optic nerves & the other friend’s heart). My friend whose optic nerves were attacked said it took 6 months for her to be functional and 2 years to feel like herself again. I am hoping for a better outcome … a speedier recovery …
At the same time, recovery demands that I rest a lot and even more challenging, that I discover a completely new way of working. A way of working that isn’t driven and driving, that respects my energy levels and health while never giving up, and doing what I can to keep moving forward, even if it is baby steps.
Part of my healing protocol has been mindfulness meditation. It has provided a source of nourishment and healing. Learning a metta meditation to help me heal has been powerful and beneficial. MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) has a well documented track record of promoting health and healing. Mindfulness is also a practice that improves organizations and leaders. I’ll write more about how mindfulness in the third of this series.