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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Horsetalk Hippotherapy

I figure since It's such a huge part of my battle with this unforgiving illness, that I should talk about the equine programs I am in. I've always dreamed of horses, since I was a kid. My first word was 'horse', and whenever we'd visit GA to see my grandpa, he always let us ride his horses. He used to work on a large ranch, and he'd bring me in to sit on the hay bales, and watch him work. I was amazed at how he handled the big animals, like they were his best friends. he taught me a lot, about watching carefully, making sure not to walk behind the horse, treating them with patience, etc. But we hadn't gone in the longest time. The year before I got sick, November '06 we finally went down to pay both my grandparents a visit. He doesn't work on the ranch anymore, but inspects houses. Since him and Gaga (she wants to be called that, gaga instead of grandma) split up when my mother was a child, we visit Northern and Southern, GA. for a week each. At Gaga's house I went hunting with papa, and at grandpa's house we went on long trail rides through the fields and down the long dirt roads of Tifton. It was great, to hold all those memories. he was certainly the one to spark my passion for horseback riding.

When I became ill, and was doing physical therapy to keep me moving, my traditional doctor gave us a flier she received from another patient. It talked and explained about a program called hippo therapy, right in NH. I was eager to read on about how it did multiple therapies, all on horseback. my mother contacted the manager (speech pathologist/lesson instructor) Toby. She explained how expensive it was, and how it worked, also how she had never done children with a chronic headache disability. She was used to working with Down Syndrome, and Autism. All the worst developmental disorders out there. People came from MA, and VT. She was well known in New England. It would originally cost 90$ to do 30 minutes of this program every other Saturday, but as the week went on and Toby thought about it, she decided to only charge 25$ for the arena rent fee. What a great person.

From there, my dreams spilled out. The first session determined I was very independent with these large animals, and wouldn't require OT, ST, or PT. Then we decided to move it to every weekend. And I got better and better with the horses, I was now doing more of a lesson, and I was up in the saddle. This was a time where lots of healing and hopefulness fell into place. I started staying all day and helping with the horses and other kids. I was having a great time and learning so much! This program, called Horsetalk, was the best thing that ever happened to me. A Thank-fullness was setting in that I had become ill. I would have never been having so much fun, and learning so much that I had dreamed about in earlier years if I was well. Thank god that he opened my eyes to other programs available for my future career.

I started to become familiar to the patients, like their friend. The parents enjoyed my company too, since March '08 when I met them. I started getting lessons which led to strong friendships with Toby and other employees. Over the summer, I got worse and worse, but I stayed active with the hippo and would sleep over Friday nights at my instructor's house so I could help Fridays and Saturdays. Then as school started back and I determined I had Lyme, everything spiraled. I had a very busy life. We started finishing off the basement for my 3 brothers, and we had a big storage truck to empty and remove from our yard. I was feeling worse, and started homeschooling which was a large change. I also started visiting a mini horse farm every Sunday afternoon to play and help train the babies. This barn was closer to us than Bow(now Deerfield as the barn for riding changed), so I spent some time there and became very close to a cute little baby named miracle.

I started missing a lot of lessons within the past months, and the ones I have gone to I have not been able to stay long, since I am more tired and hurting worse. I still go though, and love spreading the word about how nice this program is. I have seen kids go from mute to talkative, from unstable to balanced, from distracted to listening well. I am now a close volunteer to the program. I try to help when I can, and this has given me a sense of strength, something to get better for, a light at the end of the tunnel.

If you want to check out the site, go to
You'll see Toby's page and it explains the difference of Therapeutic riding, and hippo therapy. Hippo is run by medical professionals and run for specific goals and qualities to be met, and Therapeutic Riding is leisure based, with less benefits from the therapy sessions.

Anyway, that's what keeps me going. I love fulfilling my dream, being with horses.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Recovering from Surgery

Hey everyone!
I got my stitches out Tuesday, exactly 4 days ago. I was told I was a tough cookie, had high pain tolerance, and healed nice and fast! I'm still healing of course, but the stitches being out is better. The only thing is she warned me that usually she only takes a few out, and I need to be careful not to over-do it the next week so that I don't rip it back open :-0 so I'm sincerely taking it easy.its hard though when I've spent so much time inside! Wednesday I was not going to go to youth group, but the thing was, it was my 15th day not getting out (other than the doc.s) and I needed to relieve some of my cabin fever...... I miss the horses and riding, and skiing, and being outside in the fresh air and sun! I went to youth group and had a warm welcome! It was awesome! Thursday I was going to go to Concord, NH because a bill was being proposed to protect NH MD's from treating Lyme Disease. I wanted to go so bad but snow kept my ride home and therefore I was stranded with no ride and watching it on the news, seeing all the familiar faces of my NH lyme buddies on New England News! I was sure upset.... But god kept me home for a reason, because I'm glad i didn't over-do it! Friday I stayed home, and hung out. i watched Castaway, what a sad but interesting movie. I made up my own ending to it, so the real ending didn't appear as sad and depressing, but I won't spoil it for anyone... hehe.... Now today is Saturday and I'm missing my mini horse Miracle and wanting to see her so bad, so I'm going to try to convince my mom to take me down to see her for a little while. I'll have to take it very easy though.... But oh, it will feel so wonderful to get out and underneath the blue sky, and feel the cool weather touch me cheeks! Just breathing in the sunshine and fresh air will be a relief! Not including the smell of the barn, and touc of the horses! It's true, horses have healing elements! :-D

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Med.s

Hey everybody, stopping in to give a new update! Started the beginning of this year with a new protocol for my Lyme treatment, and I actually for the first time in 2 1/2 years either feel some side effects or herxing from these three new Antibiotics. I am on Plaquenil, Biaxin, and Amoxycillin. I have been on Biaxin and Amoxy in the past by themselves, and then was on Bactrim and Biaxin together for a little while, but Plaquenil is new, and together with the other two! I've been dealing with lots of nausea, stomach pain, sleepless nights, headaches, neck tension, some tingling and numbness in my fingers and feet, and some surface tingling on my stomach. I've also been edgy and have no concentration at all! This is all new stuff, one night I was up vomiting all night, another night I was up nauseas all night, and many nights I've gone to bed nauseas, or woke in the middle of the night nauseas for a bit. I have experienced some vertigo and dizziness. I'm still taking Carafate for the Gastric ulcer, going to see my GI MD next week.... She is not going to be happy now that i'm on THREE abx.... oh well, got to do what you have to do in order to treat this crumby Lyme Disease.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pilonidal Cyst

Hey everyone, again...... Well Wednesday the 13th I went in for surgery. For months I have had issues with a Pilonidal Cyst. Basically, the Pilonidal glands are right above and along the tailbone. Some people have issues with these glands as they get older and grow, and the glands may become blocked and create a cyst. The cyst and glands are very painful if this happens, so with my horseback riding and different activities the only result was to remove the problem so that it won't reoccur later on. They went in, with about a 3 inch incision, and scraped out the cyst and glands. This has left me with a very painful cut, with 8 stitches, to tend to as it heals over the course of a month. Its the 6th day after the surgery right now. The 1st day afterward I got really sick from the pain med.s! The 2nd day was a little better but sore, I was finally allowed to shower and run some hot water over it. The 3rd day was yet again a little better and I was on my side the entire day. The 4th day was yet again a little better, but that night I was up throwing up pain medications. The 5th day I was tired but able to sit upright on a soft pillow, and today I am much better. I've been up walking around and sitting on a pillow all day, so its been a good and fast recovery so far! The stitches look good and are only sore. I will be able to move some more in a week or two. The surgery went well, and they did not find any infection or anything. I am on 3 antibiotics for the Lyme Disease, so the possibility of getting an infection there now is extremely slim, I should heal nice and steady!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


One thing I've noticed over the course of my Lyme Disease sufferings, is that I will suddenly get an urgent and curious case of the hiccups every now and then. I'll go for a week or less where I get hiccups MANY times a day that will last what feels like forever, and range in severity (these weeks come often spread very far apart, up to 5 weeks apart from each other). They are very annoying and pesky, and everyone has different ways to relieve such spasms. I call it a spasm (because I know there are wide varieties of spasms caused by Lyme Disease), but really as much as I'd like to think that it's a spasm of the diaphragm (or the muscle right beneath the lungs that flexes to cause breathing) it is a much more uncontrollable and widespread motion. I was very curious about this subject, so I did some research which led me to a very interesting and informational article:
This article speaks of what causes hiccups, what is a hiccup, and gives a very detailed and helpful idea on the layout of the hiccup. Hope it helps you some!