Reflection Cube

Three-dimensional thoughts

Tag: symptoms

tick on leaf - Lyme disease, vector-borne illness, symptoms, disease, autoimmune conditions, aches, pain, headaches, fatigue, brain fog

Explaining Away an Uncomfortable Truth

So…warning. I’m kinda ranting here. 🙂

A family member of mine recently got diagnosed with Lyme.

Since then, while sharing this recent discovery with her friends/family, many have asked her, “Do you think that’s really what it is? Are you sure Lyme is really what you have?”

To which my family member’s inward response has been something to the effect of “Of course that’s what I have! I have the matching symptoms, and my doctor diagnosed me with it! Finally, I have a reasonable explanation for my symptoms!”

Lyme can actually mimic – or cause – a lot of other autoimmune diseases, so you may think you have fibromyalgia or adrenal/chronic fatigue or multiple sclerosis…and really have Lyme. It’s more likely that someone would think they have another autoimmune disease and in fact (or in addition) have Lyme (or a similar vector-borne and/or low-grade infection), than the other way around. Lyme is way more common than many realize (and can be transmitted through many means other than a tick bite, including through mosquitoes, spiders, and bodily fluids – saliva, tears, etc.).

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Such incredulity can be annoying, because it makes the sufferer feel that their diagnosis is invalid – at least socially. Which, for some, makes them question their own sanity (though it shouldn’t). Maybe they really are just a hypochondriac after all….

Except that…they know they aren’t.

It’s All In Your Head

Note: Not making any judgments or assessments about my family member’s friends or family here, or their motives/reasoning in asking the questions they did. Most people mean well when they ask such questions.

But this brings us to an interesting phenomenon about the human brain.

We tend to like to explain away or discredit facts that make us uncomfortable.

(Looked for the official name for this phenomenon and about the closest I got was Terror Management Theory…which…doesn’t exactly fit, but bears some resemblance.)

It’s a form of denial – an attempt to ignore, redefine, or disbelieve something that is terrifying or unsettling – even if that thing doesn’t directly affect you.

Having a loved one diagnosed with a serious condition can be irritating, frightening, burdening. (And it can also make undiagnosed sufferers wish they had an explanation for their similar, hidden symptoms (but sadly, they’ve come to believe the lie that any illness that is not completely outwardly visible is mental, and can’t have a medical diagnosis or root. So they think they’re just crazy for feeling what they feel.))



You can’t win! If you don’t have a diagnosis – and your symptoms are less visible (e.g. fatigue, faintness, brain fog), people think you’re lying about your health issues. And if you have a diagnosis, they don’t believe that either (“they” not representing all of humanity, but those who believe more in the prevalence of hypochondria than the growing reality of hidden illness).

A better question to ask in such situations might be, “Do you think that there could be an additional disease or factor in the mix? Or does Lyme pretty much explain all your symptoms?”

You’re acknowledging that the Lyme is a reality, but just expressing curiosity in asking if there might be more to the puzzle.

Or just a simple expression of sympathy. “Oh wow, I’m really sorry to hear that.”

Ever taken a personality test, read the description for the result you got, and gleefully exclaimed with relief “Yes! Finally, I make sense! There’s an explanation for my weirdness!”

Well, that’s how someone often feels when they get a medical diagnosis. Even if the diagnosis is very grave, it generally feels so much better to finally have an explanation for what’s going on. You know that you’re not actually going totally crazy, as many doctors have likely suggested to you in the past.

To have someone then attempt (however unwittingly) to shatter that source of relief and security is frustrating.

You’re thrilled that you can finally explain your health problems, and be confident that there really is a legit reason you feel the way you do. Finally, you know what monster you’re fighting, and you can learn what weapons to use.

And then, the very people you’d assumed would understand instead try to explain away your proof.

They doubt that you’re really up against that monster.

If the listener or questioner actually has some nutritional/medical knowledge (amateur or professional) and they have good reason to think you might have something else or something additional, then they should bring that up.

I would want to know if there were the possibility that I actually had a much more serious disease that I needed to be addressing, which symptomatically manifests similarly to the one with which I’d been diagnosed.

But to simply suggest – without any basis – to the diagnosed, “Um…nope, I don’t think you have that,” or press them with “Are you really sure that’s what you have?” – when they have clearly shared that they suffer from the symptoms for that illness and have been diagnosed – is uncaring at best, and cold and insensitive at worst.

Why would they be referring to it as their diagnosis if they weren’t reasonably sure? Why would they say “I have [X] disease” if they weren’t convinced it was so?

Denying the existence of the problem is not helpful. If someone has Lyme or cancer, suggesting to them (without any basis) that you doubt they really have that disease won’t make it go away, much as you’d like to see them stop suffering, or to think that your friend/relative really can’t be suffering from something so serious or painful.

My family member works really hard to encourage other people, keep pressing through, and give of herself. So a lot of people don’t see just how much she’s going through and fighting to do and give all that she does. They look at the surface and think “Hm, doesn’t look like Lyme disease to me. Look how chipper she is!” Or, “She’s not lying in bed at home all the time, so she can’t have such a serious illness.”

The sufferers of autoimmune disease today are the canaries in the coal mine. They are suffering because our environment is changing rapidly – being corrupted with water toxins, mutagens, toxic vaccine adjuvantsindustrial poisons, and EMFs – which are particularly problematic for those who have been poisoned with heavy metals.

These environmental changes are awakening (pulling the trigger on) genetic mutations in extra-sensitive individuals. But it’s coming to a theater near you soon. What is happening now to the most fragile and sensitive will eventually become problematic for everyone.

Everyone will have autoimmune disease. Unless the environment – including “medicine” – becomes massively cleaner, you or your children will develop autoimmune disease. Many of their symptoms may be hidden (not outwardly noticeable in some way to the observer – or visible on the skin), but very real nevertheless.

It’s just a question of how rapidly the environment will become so toxic that even the strongest can’t withstand it.

We need to realize that this “mysterious” increase in cases of “hypochondriasis” is largely a mask for a growing and already pervasive problem: hidden illness, and the hidden threats to our health.

Please see Disclaimer.

© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

electromagnetic frequencies - EMFs - experiment

EMF Exposure Experiment

Exposure = Physical contact or interaction with device (interaction involving contact, so not watching computer or TV from a distance).

As you can see, I had some trouble on the bookends of this experiment with limiting my exposure. :/ Even then, however, my interaction with electronics was generally significantly less than what would be typical for me – even on the worst days of 6-7 hrs.! :O

In the Activities column, most or all of my “writing” occurred on paper rather than on the computer.

I think most of the symptoms/improvements were recorded in the order in which they showed up within a day. 🙂 Yeah…wasn’t quite as scientific as I wanted to be here. Also wish I’d defined “deep sleep” a little more. 😀 May not have recorded the hours totally accurately either, but they should be in roughly the correct ballpark – and the proportions of exposure between days should still be roughly correct.

Anyway, here’s the data. 🙂

Day Approx. hrs. Exposure Symptoms/ Improvements Other Activities/Changes (Some activities left out or not recorded).
Day #1 6-6.5 Scrambled, tight feeling in head. More energy, less dizziness, clearer head – less scrambled/tight. More tightness later. Slept deeply I think, but sleep was disturbed. Journaling, Writing, Watching YouTube videos on phone. Dishes. Piano. Watched video on Lyme disease (mostly at distance from computer). 
Day #2 5.5-6 hrs. Tight head later. Church, Dishes, Piano, Safeway, Weird car smell exposure.
Day #3 Approx. 3.5 hrs. Kidney pain (discovered this was likely from too much celery/blueberries and possibly blackberries – all high or moderately high in oxalates). Less head discomfort. Slept deeply. Earthing.
Day #4 1.5 hrs. A little more energy, some faintness, kidney pain gone. Some fatigue. Slept deeply. Dishes, Exercise, Earthing, Writing, Violin, Recording Music (didn’t interact with computer to record, brother did).
Day #5 1.5-2 hrs. Felt rested when getting out of bed. More energy, some faintness. Slept deeply. Writing, Dishes, Cooking/Baking, Earthing, Singing.
Day #6 2-2.5 hrs Some faintness, more energy. More balance later. Some tightness in neck/head. Exercise, Earthing, Writing, Dishes.
Day #7 Lost track of exposure. Probably 2.5-4 hrs.? (That might be low) Terrible migraine later. Social event/ceremony, exposure to fragrances, too much walking, loud noises, car fluid exposure (made migraine worse I think).
Day #8 6.5-7 (computer and phone) Migraine disappearing (eventually went away), some gut tenderness. More energy. Itching.  Earthing. Baking.

I do think that limiting EMFs in my environment made some difference in my overall wellbeing (energy, balance, sleep quality, perhaps aches and pains).

Earthing for even a very short time (perhaps a minute or less per day) also seemed to improve my overall “feeling of wellness” (definitely helped with mood, although I didn’t really think to record emotional changes/differences).

Although this experiment wasn’t conducted as neatly as I would have wished, the improvements I experienced while reducing environmental EMFs were significant enough – and the health ramifications of EMF exposure are also significant enough – that I hope, in the future, to find ways to reduce my interaction with electronic devices.

As a blogger, that is quite the challenge, but writing my thoughts on paper has saved me some time in idly thinking of what to write with a computer in my lap.

Have you taken measures to reduce EMFs in your environment? How? What are some tips you’ve picked up?

Have you noticed any improvements since making that change?

Please see Disclaimer.

health - natural remedies - nutrition - healing - my journey to recovery

My Journey to Recovery: A Few Updates AND Taking a Break

Some changes I’ve made lately:

Reintroduced zinc, in the form of zinc picolinate (see resources page for the specific brand I’m using). Quickly noticed significant increase in energy levels and sleep quality, although beginning my intense candida treatment seemed to put an end to that. 😀 I am now doing another round of homeopathic candida treatment. Hopefully the discomfort and weird symptoms are temporary, and a sign that a Herx or die-off reaction is happening (which can actually cause a temporary increase in symptoms associated with the infection).

Been reducing consumption of cherries. This has helped with energy levels (although again, the candida treatment – or something – seems to have since stolen that energy. 😛 ) I generally only eat cherries now if I’m in pain (see natural pain relievers), and/or if I particularly want to ensure that I sleep well. I pulled back on cherries to reduce sugar consumption – to help fight candida and also give my liver a break.

Tried reintroducing coconut oil.

Below is my recent health journal (Admittedly, this is not as scientific as it could be, as several variables are changing – sometimes at the same time or in rapid succession. However, when you’re desperate for nutrition, you might be more compelled to cut some corners, in terms of experimental/scientific purity. I really hate doing that, but have been a little desperate lately to try to discover more options. 🙂 As you can probably see, I’ve been a little lax and/or sloppy in recording things sometimes – I just copied/pasted this from my health journal, and have since edited it minimally. Also please note, I may have experienced other symptoms but not recorded them here if they were typical/routine symptoms for me):

04/22/2018 Coconut oil No new/exacerbated symptoms noticed
04/23/2018 Coconut oil Temporary slight pain in arch above right eye, near nose, lasting approx. one min.

Some stuffiness, but seems to be a continuation of previous allergies. Some throat congestion/dryness.

Foggy brain feeling builds.

Feeling clammy/cold/lethargic.

Experiencing brain fog.

As day progresses, continuing to feel worse. Head feeling “clogged up”, eyes heavy. Mild GI discomfort.

04/24/2018 Coconut oil Some continuation of weird head feeling (I think). Some dizziness.
04/25/2018 Coconut oil Diarrhea in morning (note: also morning after taking 9th vial of candida treatment). Mild GI discomfort. Itchy skin.
04/26/2018 Macadamia oil (took break from coconut oil) Tight head, ovary pain (at an abnormal time), neck pain and/or stiffness.
04/27/2018 Coconut oil Tight head, GI discomfort
04/28/2018 Coconut oil / macadamia oil Tight head, improved later


04/30/2018 Macadamia oil Seems to be okay
04/30/2018 Coconut oil Will require further testing at later date (perhaps after second round of candida treatment)
04/30/2018 Hemp seed Possibly some head tightness from eating too much? Few to no symptoms I think.
05/03/2018 Celery Some head tightness. Otherwise, few/no unusual symptoms so far.

As shown, I’ve also tried macadamia oil recently. It seems to be mostly or completely okay. So yay!!! Hopefully there won’t be any surprises or betrayals down the road. 😀 Sometimes, I am able to tolerate the fats/oils of a food that I can’t eat. (For example, I can do olive oil but not olives, and ghee but not milk or butter).

I’ve consumed hemp stuff fairly successfully in the past, as long as I haven’t eaten too much. So that was less of a surprise or even a true food reintroduction I guess.

I had tried celery perhaps a month or so ago, and was experiencing some GI symptom(s), but was unsure what was causing them (as the candida treatment could also have been implicated).

So I tried celery again yesterday. So far, I think it has caused, at most, one or possibly no symptoms. (As the head tightness seems to have shown up pretty frequently within the past several days, it’s unlikely that the celery is what’s causing it now. Might be the weather. And/or dehydration (…oops)).


I wanted to give you guys a heads-up that one of my next experiments will be to limit my electronics exposure for a while (possibly a week or two?) – specifically, exposure to my computer and phone.

While the results and analysis of this experiment certainly will not be entirely scientific or objective, they should give me at least a rough idea of just how much my interaction with these devices is impairing/affecting my health.

If I end up feeling significantly better while away from these devices, I might decide to rearrange my schedule so that I’m spending less time on the computer and phone each day, but allotting a certain (smaller) amount of time for computer work.

If limited electronics exposure actually correlates with improved cognitive function, then who knows? I might, in fact, become a better (more creative, articulate) blogger by actually spending less, not more time at the computer!

My goal is to record the approximate amount of time spent on electronics each day, and symptoms or improvements that I notice. I’ll probably have to be on the phone and/or computer to some degree most days, but I am planning to mostly take a break from blogging for a little while.

I’ve scheduled a few posts, but other than that, will probably be taking this time to accomplish stuff around the house, maybe exercise a little and (hopefully) regain some energy and balance, and give my violin, guitar, and piano some love. <3

And hopefully catch up on reading.

Which…will mean mostly reading real books.

Exposure to “real” books does sometimes make me sick, but I’m beginning to wonder if tangible books are actually as hazardous to my health as radio frequencies from reading Kindle books on my phone.

Similarly, I might try spending more time outdoors some days – reconnecting with the frequencies of the earth (or “earthing“), despite the fact that I am quite allergic to the outdoors. I’m also beginning to wonder if the improvements from a change in biological frequencies might outweigh the negative side effects of outdoor exposure. We shall see. 😀

But yeah, I’ve scheduled some posts – on this blog and my other blog. Kinda like pre-made frozen meals, I guess. 😀 Hopefully they are tasty. 😉

<3 Kate

© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

My Journey to Recovery

circular cause and consequence fallacy - logic - philosophy - reasoning - thinking - argument - rationality - thoughts - picture of spiral

Fallacies – Circular Cause and Consequence

The consequence of the phenomenon is claimed to be its root cause.

Example: “Sue is lethargic and has poor hygiene habits, therefore, she is depressed.” (In other words, Sue is depressed because she’s lethargic and has poor hygiene habits.)

Here, the consequences (lethargy, poor hygiene) of the phenomenon (depression) are being claimed as the root causes of the phenomenon.

The root causes of depression may be physiological, genetic, emotional, trauma-related, and/or spiritual. Yet some of the signs (symptoms or consequences) of depression tend to be mistaken for the root cause(s) (e.g. someone’s depressed because they’re “lazy”, rather than “lazy” because they’re depressed).

circular cause and consequence illustration

© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

migraine pain - brain on fire - what it's like having a migraine

What It’s Like Having a Migraine

Ever had a migraine? Do you know a migraine sufferer?

A migraine is not just a common or severe headache. It is that, but much more. A migraine with aura means a migraine accompanied by sensory disturbances or odd perceptions or sensitivities to various stimuli. An aura is something that can show up for people before a migraine or seizure. However, I often experience mine during the migraine.

Everyone’s migraine experience differs in some way from others’ experiences – in the presence or absence of various symptoms, the severity and timing of those symptoms, and the triggers and remedies.

I’ve had migraines since I was six (or at least, I first recall experiencing them at that age), and only since radically changing my diet and lifestyle in recent years (especially the past year or so) have I seen major improvements.

I don’t get migraines very often now, but when I do, they’re still quite the nightmare.

Walking Through a Migraine

It’s 11:15 at night. You just got home from work, and you feel a throbbing pulse of knotted-up heat surrounding your right eye. You try to massage your head and dig at the deep pain, but it is too deep to reach, and it almost feels like any pressure you apply just pushes the pain deeper inside.

“Light jazz” music is on the radio when you walk inside. Normally, this type of music can give you a headache, but now, it’s triggering feelings of nausea. The lights are too bright, and the smell of garlic bread and pasta seeps through your nostrils and pierces deep into your head, setting on fire your already inflamed brain. The pain intensifies and spreads. You wish your remedies could pervade your head this quickly, could heal the damage as fast as it’s inflicted.

You faintly, dizzily wobble up the stairs to your bedroom and lie on the floor in the dark.

It’s been a long day, but you want nothing to eat. Even imagining food or the smell of it makes you sick.

You struggle to find a comfortable position.

Once you do, you don’t want to move. Doing so – even an inch – just reignites the fire.

Even the slightest motion is infinitely painful. It hurts to talk.

People visit and ask you questions. “Are you okay?” “What can I bring you?”

You attempt to respond as briefly and painlessly as possible, not speaking too loudly or moving your mouth too much. Which then prompts them to ask you to repeat your response, because it was not discernible the first time.

Inwardly annoyed – at your own hypersensitivity and pain more than anything – you muster the strength to speak more loudly (if possible), knowing that may set you back for the next several minutes or hours.

You know that they care and mean well, and you don’t want to ignore them. But it’s so painful to shout. You feel like you’re shouting. All sound is magnified. The vibrations of sound fuel the flames permeating your head. And it hurts to move your jaw. It hurts to think.

Your cognitive function is compromised, and it’s painful – if not impossible – to process thoughts efficiently or lucidly.

In response to your loved ones’ queries, you request a hot cloth to place on your face. This will aid in blocking the traces of light biting through your eyelids, as well as relaxing muscles and possibly clearing some nasal congestion, removing at least some pressure from your head.

After about five or ten rounds of heating and applying the hot cloth, you’re beginning to feel some improvement, but you know that your only hope for seeing the end of this migraine is taking pain reliever and trying to sleep it off.

But…nope. Unless you’re fortunate, it’s still there in the morning, if slightly less so. “Hey there!” it greets you. “Didn’t think I’d leave so soon, did you?” Your head feels like a block of lead weighing down your pillow, and you know you lack the energy or equilibrium to get out of bed uneventfully right now.

The pain has traveled since you fell asleep, radiating to other areas of your head.

Once you finally manage to safely descend from your bed to the floor, you attempt to rebalance yourself enough to make it down the stairs, and repeat the hot cloth procedure. You also prepare a cup of tea so that you can drink in the steam (and eventually drink the tea).

You finally feel like eating something mild, and after doing so – and continuing to apply other remedies – the final traces of your migraine at last begin to fade.

Migraines and the Workplace

In the workplace, staying home for a migraine is often viewed as a weak or unnecessary decision. As far as I recall, I never called out for a migraine (perhaps because I feared it’d be viewed as an “excuse” not to work), and so I remember dealing with them while working.

(The first manager I worked with there was pretty kind and understanding, and once he found out I suffered from migraines, he encouraged me to do whatever was necessary to care for myself, but he left soon after I was hired, and leadership changed a lot after that.)

I wonder how much the quality of my work was compromised, as migraines can diminish my thinking/processing ability, and also render me more dizzy and clumsy (I did spill/break my share of things at that job, a highly active and fast-paced position).

To make matters worse, at my first workplace, we were actually not allowed to have water bottles with us. We were only permitted to somehow carve out the time to walk far away from our work area (which was not always allowed) to drink water (laced with germs, heavy metals, and likely fluoride) from the water fountain.

If employers are going to “demand” that their migraine-suffering employees show up to work, they should at least make provisions for their staff that would aid them in coping with the pain:

An electric tea kettle.

A quality water filter.

Maybe some gluten-free tea bags with minimal ingredient lists.

Pain relievers (at least – or including – natural options such as boswellia and maybe white willow bark. Businesses should be able to get away with providing these if they label them as “food” and not “medicine”).

Slightly longer breaks.

Light sensitivity glasses (and/or yellow-tinted glasses for desk jobs), or allowing employees to bring/wear their own on the job.

If businesses are unwilling to make these accommodations, they should not expect employees to show up to work while suffering from migraines, unless they want to risk damage/loss in inventory, information, or labor processes and work quality due to clumsiness/dizziness, severe pain, and impaired neurological processes in their employees.

Chronic illness and autoimmune disease rates are only increasing, so the long-term solution is not simply to fire these employees and hire healthier ones.

The solution is to make our workplaces, homes, and environment cleaner, less toxic, and safer for – and more supportive of – those with chronic illness.

Triggers and Remedies

Some things that may trigger migraines for me (sometimes, they start out as garden-variety headaches and “transform” into migraines):

  • Dehydration.
  • Prolonged exposure to blue light or sunlight.
  • Crying.
  • Walking inside the mall (which I don’t do anymore).
  • Excessive physical activity.
  • Running, or lifting weights.
  • Eating dairy, eggs, corn, coconut, or foods high in various glutamates (tomatoes, grapes/raisins, black beans, foods [such as soups] with the ingredient MSG [monosodium glutamate]).
  • Eating foods high in refined sugars.
  • Eating foods containing dextrin, dextrose, or maltodextrin.
  • Exposure to gluten/wheat (sometimes even without consuming it).
  • Certain types of “jazz” or other “light music” (not quite sure how to describe this music, other than that it sort of tastes like peaches canned in pear juice).
  • Exposure to petroleum for more than a few seconds.
  • Exposure to synthetic fragrances (even briefly smelling them on other people).
  • Smiling for long periods of time (something I still have to work to do less, but often do because sometimes people perceive me as angry or upset if I wear what feels like a neutral face [I have deep-set eyes, so this makes me naturally look a bit more austere or intense when I’m not smiling]).
  • Staying at a party for more than maybe 1-2 hours.
  • Riding along in a car but not driving (in this case, I can usually only prevent a headache or migraine if I’m lying down or resting comfortably against something, or am riding along only for a short time). Additionally, the scents/smells of others’ cars often bother me and make me feel unwell.
  • Sickness.
  • Not taking magnesium.
  • Not getting adequate sleep.
  • Walking through a hardware store.
  • Walking through the laundry detergent aisle.

Some remedies that can help:

  • Being in a quiet, dark place
  • Putting a warm cloth on head
  • Steaming face over hot tea
  • Drinking water/tea
  • Taking natural pain relievers

If you are a migraine sufferer, what are some migraine triggers for you? What things help?

Please see disclaimer.

© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

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