Patience. I’ve learned a lot about that word since my husband got sick two and a half years ago. Of course I’ve learned lots of other things too. I can tell you how standard lyme tests have a false negative rate of 40 percent or more, which led to a delay in Don’s diagnosis. I can tell you about the difficulties of treating late stage lyme. I can even tell you about the alternative treatments available. But what I can’t tell you, despite all my research, the thousands of dollars in medical bills, and the lifestyle adjustments we’ve had to make, is when this roller coaster ride will be over. Despite all that, I think I’ve shown patience in dealing with the big challenges we’ve been dealing with. But like Rebecca Rice Birkin, I’ve also found that it’s often, “the little household crises that get to me.” Just yesterday, chronic illness hit me where it really matters—in the sugar bowl.

There I was, innocently serving my breakfast oatmeal, when Don walked up behind me. “You’re putting sugar on that?”

Now I have been accused of being health conscious. It may be because I sprout beans before cooking to improve their nutritional value. It may be because I actually cook with tofu. And if we’re really being honest here, I confess that I (once) made my daughter a birthday cake out of wheat flour and mashed navy beans.

But oatmeal without sugar? Come on.

Don furrowed his brows in concern, and shook his head at me. The shame was overwhelming. What was I supposed to say?

You see, Don is the one with the sugar addiction. Or at least he used to be. The first time we compiled 72 hour kits, I made the mistake of sending him to the store for food. He came back with three days worth of candy and a small package of beef jerky. I’ve begged, pleaded, and nagged for years since about that sticky white poison. One time I even got him to talk to his doctor about his sugar habit. He emerged from the appointment looking gleeful.

“See Ang? I’m fine. The doctor said to tell you not to worry. People with hypoglycemia like me should always carry candy with them.”

“Did you mention that you’re eating at least half a pound of that emergency candy a day?”

He didn’t have an answer.

So you can imagine the challenge it was for Don to be prescribed long term antibiotics a couple of months ago. Along with the drugs came a warning not to eat simple carbs because of their potential for promoting yeast overgrowth.

Don was patient in the face of sugar withdrawals. He was patient when I served him a Thanksgiving dinner with no flour, sugar, or starch in it. He was patient when his coworkers brought Christmas treats to work that he couldn’t share. And then came something that we never expected. The patience paid off. Somewhere in there the sugar cravings stopped, and a whole new world opened to him.

“Wow, taste these apples, Ang! Did apples always have this much flavor?”

“Ang, I can’t believe you’re eating peanut butter with sugar in it! You can’t even taste the peanuts!”

“Let’s just eliminate the sugar from our food storage. We don’t need it.”

And then the unthinkable. Last week he rampaged through the house, throwing away candy. My specialty dark chocolate? Gone. My five year-old’s birthday candy? Gone. The Mexican candy Grandma brought all the way from Juarez to fill their Christmas piñata? All gone.

Now, I’m with him in theory. If he can stick with this, I’m sure we’ll all be healthier for it. It’s just that it’s all been rather fast.

Don’t tell Don, but I fished a Ghirardelli mint chocolate square out of the trash can. For old time’s sake. He’s going to have to be a little patient with me on this one.

January 19, 2007
January 23, 2007


  1. Maralise

    January 22, 2007

    Angie–Oh boy. Timing. This morning I was informed that my youngest will have to start the celiac diet, now. As I was feeding him breakfast, I couldn’t help but let a few tears flow. It upset him and of course, he wouldn’t eat. Ironic.

    Patience is definitely something I could use. Patience in uncertainty. Patience in adjustment. Patience with myself. Patience with everyone else.

    Thank you. It’s getting me through lunch and I needed that.

  2. Justine

    January 22, 2007

    This morning during my run, my girlfriend and I dissected the topic of patience to while away our miles running. It seems there is little in this world of any value that comes without patience. Dang it, huh? And patience with our own family pretty well tops my list of things I need to learn.

    All truly great attributes that I want in my life require me to have some semblence of patience. If I really want to let the Lord make of me what He will, I’ve got to LET GO. Man, that’s tough for me.

    The song, Lead Kindly Light. One of my favorites ever. “I loved to choose and see my path, but now lead Thou me on”

    I love to choose. I love to be in charge. But I also know if I could just let go and Be Still, the Lord will lead me on. I just have to sit still long enough for that to happen!

  3. Felicia

    January 22, 2007

    Justine –

    So TRUE!!!!

    I could’ve written your post. But wait, no I couldn’t have. From me it would have been all plebian.

    Anyway, I know what ya mean.

    That verse from Lead Kindly Light just jumped out at me sometime this past year. Very insightful.

    Ang – I hear ya on the roller coaster. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.

    Mara – I’m so sorry. I know you’ll do just fine handling the changes, but the grief (of changing our great expectations to other great expectations) takes a bit to process. Many hugs.

  4. Deborah

    January 22, 2007

    Maralise: That must feel scary. My husband has celiac, so I’ve had to become a gluten-free cook (& food policewoman). In the process, I’ve adopted a gluten-free diet for myself — just easier than cooking two meals. I wrote this post to pass on some tips I’ve learned through the years. I’ve even baked bread the last two nights (a great package mix that I like as well as the “real” thing). It’s a much easier world for food allergies than it used to be . . .

  5. Kati

    January 22, 2007

    Patience. What a word. I have had Lyme disease for the past two and a half years like Angie’s husband. I went for nearly two years without a diagnosis, but I was one of the lucky ones- some people go for decades without knowing. I was actually diagnosed because of Segullah- I call it my miracle. Sharlee is a dear friend of mine (I am really close friends with her daughter) and she joined Segullah (inspiration!) and met Heather Bergevin. Sharlee knew I had an elusive illness and found out about Lyme from Heather, and put me in touch with Heather. One thing led to another and I was diagnosed- what a blessing to finally know what was wrong. Thank you Segullah!

    Through these past couple of years, I have learned a little bit about patience. One thing I’ve discovered is sometimes, you don’t have a choice- you don’t have a say in the matter, there’s nothing you can do to speed up the situation, or change it, so you might as well be patient, as incredibly hard as that is. Sometimes Heavenly Father lets us know what He is doing, and other times He takes our hand and says “Trust Me.” It’s crazy to not know what is ahead, or what is going on, or as Angie said, “when this roller coaster ride will be over.” I take a lot of comfort in the promise that it will one day be over. I love Alma 11:43- “The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame…” We are promised that. That day seems really far away when you’re twenty, or any age, but it will come- Lyme disease, celiac disease, and all other physical ailments will not last forever. All shall be restored!!! We just have to try our best to be patient until that day arrives.

  6. cew-smoke

    January 23, 2007

    Is there anything funnier than the holier than thou recovered addict. I have a non-member friend who just quit smoking about six months ago. It took him almost two years of trying to finally quit the habit. He was irritable, annoying, relapsed countless times and put on about 25 lbs in the process, but bless his heart he finally did it.

    Now he goes around complaining about other smokers. Tells them they should quit and he had no problems quitting and so they are just being weak for not being able to quit. I always rib him and say, “No problem quitting, huh?” He just snorts and pretends I didn’t say anything. Here was the guy who not long ago would curse you out for giving him a hard time about smoking and now he’s the annoying “you should quit smoking guy” that all smokers detest.

    It is truly embarassing and yet simultaneously really funny to watch him in action.

  7. texasgal

    January 23, 2007

    My heart goes out to you people in your hard times. This is the stuff Elder Maxwell specialized in –maybe you can find some uplift there. I know I have.

    I liked what Kati said about sometimes we don’t have a choice. When there is nothing I can change but my own heart –a great opportunity and a formidable challenge.

    The best to all in their struggles. I’ll be thinking of you.

  8. maralise

    January 23, 2007

    Deborah–thank you for your post, I am linking away. Well, I’m a day into this diet and all is not lost. Thanks for everyone’s encouragement.

  9. Kathy

    January 24, 2007

    Stop! Chocolate thief!

    One reason to own a semiautomatic weapon.

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