Holiday Season is a Time to Cherish

As always, I value the kinship and closeness my family and friends mean to me at the season of gift-giving. These days of sharing our time, gifts and meals is an ingrained ritual in our Judeo-Christian cultures. I like it, as a chance to draw near and be attentive to each other, and for many to show reverence to their faith.

These past few days I have been observing how much healthier and balanced I am from 7 years ago, when Lyme disease had me bedridden and bereft. I was forced to sell my treasured, wonderful home in the woodlands to pay my treacherously steep medical bills. I had lost my vital career years prior, along with my marriage and well-being. My mind was shot, my heart vulnerable and my hope for recovery slim. Yet, so desperately I did not want to be an invalid forever. With the help of a savvy Clinical Nutritionist and Integrative Medical Doc I was starting my healing journey. It took 5 years, and I am well and thriving again! I am deeply grateful and also proud of my tenacity and perseverance.

With this in mind, I wanted to share a passage from my memoir, OUT OF THE WOODS, which helps to remind me and show others that personal inner healing tools are invaluable when moving through chronic illness. Please enjoy this portion of a chapter titled “Moving”.

Near Christmastime, Eli, Hunter, and I venture out to buy a tree. This is a first for us, as I’ve always cut a Charlie Brown hemlock from our woods in years past, adorning the tender finger-like limbs with the Delancey Street market, Hungarian ornaments of my childhood. Now, we mount a generously stout fir, its needles feeling brush-like and full, the wintergreen aroma filling our dollhouse in minutes. Hunter strings up colored lights, weaving the mass through the fragrant branches as Bing Crosby croons carols on the stereo. As woozy as I still feel, my energy dipping and rising with no rhyme or reason throughout the days, I feel a warmth of gratitude within. 

After a very long struggle I sense that I’m marking progress in my healing. Three months on cat’s claw and I’m climbing up from the worst of its clutches. Small signs of improvement bolster my hope: a clearer mind, less stomach upset and a faint glow of strength in my limbs. The tune from “The Wizard of Oz” has been tumbling through my mind for weeks now: I’m out of the woods, I’m out of the woods, I’m out of the woods…. 

Santa arrives, leaving a slew of boxes. Eli’s eyes are star filled as he rips off the vibrant paper, new board games and ice hockey sticks cluttering the room. The quarters are so close we have the Christmas tree placed on top of the coffee table and pushed up against the wall. Teaspoon size snowflakes drift down outside the windows. Lucky is festively attired, coyly wearing a brown velvet antler headband. 

“Mommy, Mommy, get the camera!” Eli chants. “Take a picture of Lucky and me.”

It is a moment of perfection.

We close the day with a banquet of food, family, and chatter at Hunter’s sister’s home up the hill. Children, grandparents, and adults with cocktails in hand gather around the burgeoning oak dining table, our number swelling to over twenty. There are smiles and warmth, the feeling of generous embrace from a clan other than my own. There is love.

Today, I take my first steps into tomorrow. I reach way deep down inside into the core of my being. From the pit of my belly I draw forth my formerly sagging will. Making a personal pact of intention, I close my eyes and see myself standing upright and strong like a broad-reaching copper beech tree. I’m smiling and radiant. I look and feel healthy and strong, confident and happy, successful and powerful. 

I will heal completely, I tell myself. I will beat the Lyme disease. I will regain my health, strength, and stamina and be be whole, happy, and successful. Starting now I leave the past behind and step into a new and better future. I will be guarded and protected.

From today forward I begin to recite my pact of intention each day in my morning meditation, at first prone on the sofa, then sitting, and eventually standing. I refuse to slip back into the downward spiral of all the cataclysmic tailspins over the past five grueling years. I’m determined to heal. No one will stop me. It will be.

May your healing journeys bring you to the close concert of inner resources I discovered. Willpower, intention, faith, self belief, love and openness can create room for change and healing. I send you strength and grace.

Katina

OUT OF THE WOODS is Available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Out-Woods-Healing-Disease-Body-Spirit/dp/1600700713

Lyme Disease Memoir Author Autographed at Holiday Discount

Seal-2012Winner-300With the season of gift giving upon us I am happy to announce a HOLIDAY Sale for “Out of The Woods, Healing Lyme Disease, Body, Mind & Sprit”.

$12.95 with free shipping in USA, autographed by me! retail price is $18.00.

I was able to get a few cases from the publisher and can mail a book directly to you. Contact me at my email with your address Katina.Makris@comcast.net or you can pay directly at PayPal, my email there is katina.makris@comcast.net

This is a wonderful gift for a loved one in need of hope, healing and inspiration. “Out of The Woods” was awarded by USA Book News as a finalist for Best Book in Alternative Health. It is my recovery memoir from advanced chronic Lyme disease, as well as a guide on diagnostics, labs, treatment options, for the epidemic of our era. Filled with emotional support and a riveting plot, this book

is a universal voice for those walking the often lonely and confusing ‘Lyme Road’.

Long Island Lyme Talks and the ‘Time of My Life’

My Lyme talks and book readings on Long Island recently were a “homecoming” of sorts for me, as I was raised on the gracious shores of this often teeming stretch of land, now a New York City commuter corridor.

As a child in the ’60’s, the woodsy North Shore, “Great Gatsby” area we lived in, was laced with bridle paths, sleeping hidden ponds and heaving old mansions built in the roaring twenties.  I whiled my nomadic hours building pinecone castles under the mountain laurel dens we played in and climbing into the upper limbs of a favorite tree, a grand and proud copper beech.  With the roaring surf and powdery sand of Jones Beach in close reach, we neighborhood kids spent endless days bodysurfing and skimboarding in reckless abandon.  As summer peaked, off my family would go far spans of time to Fire Island or South Hampton, basking in nonchalant freedoms, our bicycles and tennis rackets constant companions.

These were carefree and wholesome years I recall with true fondness.  Long Island was developing quickly, yet my tomboy youth, my band of friends and in turn our studious years in a Quaker high school knitted me in strong affection to the true beauty of Long Island’s old whaling villages and Dutch settlers farmsteads.  Exploring hidden root cellars, sailing on Long Island Sound and riding horseback through the shadowy woods built sturdy adventure into my limbs.  And yes, I pulled many ticks off of my body and certainly our pets. By the time I moved North in 1991 every dog in our neighborhood had been infected with Lyme. We knew the illness was present, but never did we fathom the treachery.

Forty years later, we now know Long Island is severely infested with Lyme disease and the co-infections ticks carry.  Blessedly, I never fell ill back in those days, but now thousands are suffering on the beachy shores and even in well built suburbia.  The East End of Long Island; the North fork; Shelter Island, the Hamptons and Montauk sit in the Lyme cross-hairs.

Back in the 1980’s and 90’s some serious research was underway via Dr. Alan MacDonald at South Hampton hospital and at SUNY Stoneybrook labs regarding Lyme.  The arthritic and neurological chronic forms of the illness were recognized and being studied.  Stoneybrook suprisingly  recently closed their excellent Lyme lab and Dr. MacDonald and the renowned Lyme literate physician, Dr. Joseph Burranscano are gone.  Meanwhile, Long Island still suffers a huge epidemic, as the entire East coast does really.

August 17, brought me to the Shelter Island Library, with a lovely turn-out of Lyme concerned folks.  Thank you Robbie Vorhaus and Denise DiPaulo for helping create this event.  We all learned a great deal from one another, as I shared “Out of the Woods” and my experience.

August 18, Canio’s Bookstore, Sag Harbor hosted a bookreading and talk.  We were jam packed inside this quaint store, all eyes and ears soaking in the Lyme information.  Some seriously disturbing accounts of misdiagnosed Lyme, chronic illness and even deaths due to the advanced forms were shared.  Lyme can reek horrid damage; body, mind, and spirit.

My hope is that the long overdue money and research can FINALLY begin to unravel the web of Lyme’s “lock and key” connection to so many suspicious links to auto-immune disease- MS, Parkinson’s, ALS, Alzheimer’s, RA show such commonalities!

Meanwhile, my Long Island visit was rich for me on many levels.  Besides visiting some of my old haunts, family home included, I got to swim at the glorious Ditch Plains Beach in Montauk and savor a sunset sail on the fluttering evening breeze.  Especially heartwarming was that four childhood friends came to my book events, giving my return a true hoist of cheer!

Our dinners together and post event celebrating at Page in Sag Harbor was a night to remember, forever.  Twelve of us ensemble moseyed off to dinner, the summer sky peppered with stars.  After four days of traveling, work, connecting with so many Lyme afflicted and doctors, and tasting the roots of past, a silky wash of emotions ran through me – “This is the time of your life,” I heard deep within.

It was a knowing.  The meaning of my work as an author, a healer, survivor and now a Lyme literate educator moving through the world in such a way, struck a palpable chord in my soul.  The chatter of familiar voices surrounding me, their care and love, the magnitude of the Lyme epidemic was all very real and ripe  Somehow it appears, my decades of living, learning, reaching, and healing are all coming together.  Long Island “brought it home” to me!

I feel proud and honored to be living now and sharing my words with others.  How remarkable my journey has been.  Lyme stripped me of everything I cherished.  But, I worked hard to recover, and now my internal awareness and hard earned rewards are enduring.

I move forward, more Lyme talks pending- Vermont this week, and Rhode Island in September.  Connecticut follows in October.

“This is the time of my life.”  I aim to offer hope and resources to those in need.  Thank you all for caring.  We will change the future of Lyme!

With Blessings.

(Katina on the Shelter Island ferry en route to her presentation.)