My Daily Routine With Chronic Lyme Disease

  • Jennifer Buttaccio of LymeRoad dot com standing in front of brasserie
    A smile can hide many challenges that I face.
    I’m Jenny Buttaccio, and I have chronic Lyme disease. I was diagnosed with the illness in 2012, but I likely had symptoms of the infection for many years before my doctor thought to consider Lyme as a possibility. I never saw a tick bite or developed the classic bull’s-eye rash, so it’s hard to say exactly when I was infected. But over time, my health declined to the point where I couldn’t get out of bed, and I knew something was seriously wrong.

    Today, I continue to battle Lyme disease, but I probably don’t look very sick, especially from a photograph where I’m smiling. A smile can hide many challenges I face, like physical pain, crushing fatigue, and brain fog. To other people, Lyme disease is an invisible illness, but inside our bodies, a battle between infections, inflammation, and treatment side effects wages on. At any given time, it’s a toss-up as to which circumstance may win. Lyme disease is nothing if not unpredictable, and it requires a consistent daily routine.

  • Jennifer Buttaccio of LymeRoad dot com holding handful of Lyme Disease medication
    Each morning, I awake and swallow a multi-colored combination of pills.
    Many of the medications, supplements, and natural remedies I use require me to take them on an empty stomach. Each morning, I awake and swallow a multi-colored combination of pills that my doctor recommends for each particular course of treatment to help my body heal. There’s no formulaic, one-size-fits-all approach to treating Lyme in its chronic stage, so what I take might be different than what someone else takes. Ultimately, it’s important to find a Lyme-literate medical doctor or Lyme specialist to help you establish which Lyme disease treatment options are right for you.

  • Jennifer Buttaccio of LymeRoad dot com doing yoga pose on rooftop
    I like to begin my mornings with a mind-body exercise like power yoga or Pilates.
    My physical energy fluctuates from day to day; it can be very frustrating not to know if I’m going to have the strength to get out of bed. When I have the energy, I like to begin my mornings with a mind-body exercise like power yoga or Pilates. Mind-body workouts help me cope with chronic Lyme disease symptoms because they reduce my stress levels, boost my mood, and decrease muscle aches and pains. When my body allows those moments of movement, I’m reminded that I’m developing strength one step (or pose) at a time.

  • Jennifer Buttaccio of LymeRoad dot com lying in bed with laptop
    I’ve learned to rest until I have the strength to fight another day.
    I’d be disingenuous if I didn’t show the unglamorous side of chronic Lyme disease—the days when I’m too weak to get out of bed, take a shower, or make my own food. These days happen often, and they can be incredibly discouraging. I’ve been fervently battling chronic illnesses for almost half of my life, and sometimes, I grow weary and exhausted. During the time when I’m mentally and physically drained to my core, I’ve learned to rest until I have the strength to fight another day. Lyme has birthed a spirit of perseverance within me that I may not otherwise have discovered about myself. I’m not quite prepared to make the leap and say that Lyme disease has been a blessing in my life, but I may get there one day.

  • Jennifer Buttaccio of LymeRoad dot com ready to eat healthy meal
    I always make nutritious, clean eating a priority.
    Regardless of the ups and downs I have along my healing journey, I always make nutritious, clean eating a priority. I’ve tried many diets, including vegan, paleo, ketogenic, and low-histamine. Although I haven’t found the “perfect” diet to reduce my symptoms, there are a few things I always stick to: My food choices must be gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free, and preservative-free. Whenever possible, I eat fresh, organic vegetables, grass-fed meats and eggs, healthy fats, and berries. To stave off cravings, I eat an occasional square of dark chocolate.

  • Jennifer Buttaccio of LymeRoad dot com sitting on bench looking at phone
    Although my life doesn’t look the way I envisioned it, I embrace hope and ready myself for future possibilities.
    Some days, I can rise above Lyme and its symptoms, and I feel like taking on the world. I’m a writer, wife, mother of two fur babies, and lover of all things health and wellness. When my body feels refreshed, I grasp the opportunity to satisfy my adventuresome spirit, get work finished, or do a combination of both. Years ago, when I was unable to leave my house for weeks or months at a time, I came across this quote by Joseph Campbell: “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one waiting for us.” Although my life doesn’t look the way I envisioned it, I embrace hope and ready myself for future possibilities to share my gifts and talents with the world.

  • Jennifer Buttaccio of LymeRoad dot com's two adorable dogs
    My dogs, Emmi and Opal, are an instant dose of pet therapy.
    My dogs, Emmi and Opal, are an instant dose of pet therapy. They have become my family, a crucial source of companionship for me. Dealing with a chronic illness like Lyme disease can be lonely and isolating. When I’m homebound or stuck in bed for extended periods, I may not see another human besides my husband for days at a time. In those moments of despair, I turn to the cheeriest, breathing beings I know, a beagle mix and a rat terrier mix. Together, they are a silly mismatched duo who can make me laugh for hours at a time. I honestly don’t know if I’d be able to cope with all the hardship I’ve endured if I didn’t have them in my life.

  • Jennifer Buttaccio of LymeRoad dot com photo of purple flowers and bumblebee
    Nature has many health benefits like lifting my mood, calming my body, and resetting my circadian rhythms so that I can sleep at night.
    Most days, I set aside time to spend in nature. Although I’m not so fond of wooded or grassy areas anymore, I enjoy walks through the paved path of a nearby park. Nature has many health benefits like lifting my mood, calming my body, and resetting my circadian rhythms so I can sleep at night. Plus, past studies have shown that just viewing nature through a window helps people heal from surgery, so why can’t it aid in my recovery from a chronic illness? Best of all, it’s a free tool to add to my toolbox of treatment options and another resource to manage my symptoms.

  • Jennifer Buttaccio of LymeRoad dot com photo of bath spout
    One trick I’ve discovered that causes my body to relax is a warm, Epsom salt bath before bed.
    Living with chronic Lyme disease is a challenge; many parts of the body are affected by the illness. One particular symptom I’ve grappled with the longest and hardest is insomnia. Every night, it’s an uphill battle to get the sleep I need to help my body heal. One trick I’ve discovered that causes my body to relax is a warm, Epsom salt bath before bed. The magnesium in Epsom salts is a natural muscle relaxer, so it reduces my pain and helps me unwind. It’s another tool to help me cope with the sneaky blow from a tiny tick that I never even saw.

  • Jennifer Buttaccio of LymeRoad dot com outdoors looking reflective
    Is Lyme disease curable?
    Is Lyme disease curable? I wish that were a simple question to answer. When Lyme disease is caught early, the chances of curing it are high. But if the initial treatment is inadequate or it takes patients a long time to obtain an accurate diagnosis, curing the illness becomes much more difficult. Thankfully, I know people who have gotten well in all sorts of ways, from conventional medicine to non-traditional treatment approaches. Although I have yet to find a straight path to healing, I’m determined and resilient. Today, I’m eager to begin a new season of recovery, and no matter what, I can rest assured I am and will always be more than enough—with or without Lyme.

Jenny Buttaccio | My Daily Routine With Chronic Lyme Disease
  1. Ulrich RS. View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science. 1984 Apr 27;224(4647):420-1.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2018 Jul 27
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