My Detox Routine: Part 2 (Castor Oil Packs, Oil Pulling, Herbal Teas, Toxin Binders)

As a caveat to what lies ahead in this post: I am NOT a doctor, and the information presented here should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or naturopath before embarking on an intense detox regimen like the one presented below. Also, the products I recommend are products that I have used or am currently using with success, I am not being paid to recommend them (although, I wouldn’t object!).


Welcome to the second portion of ‘My Detox Routine’; to read the first part, click here. Today I’ll be writing about some of my favorite detox therapies- herbal teas, castor oil packs, oil pulling, and toxin binders. Each of these therapies are fairly inexpensive and easy to implement, and I do hope you’ll try a few of them! Let’s jump in.

Herbal Teas


There are lots of different teas on the market today that can aid in detoxing your organs. I am a big fan of sipping on tea throughout the day, whether it be cold or hot, but it’s important to be picky about which types of tea you choose to enjoy. Many brands of tea on the market today (even the fancy, super expensive loose-leaf teas) have been sprayed with chemicals, have added GMOs and/or food coloring, and even contain mold. To read more about the safety of the tea you choose, check out this article.

A few simple rules to live by when selecting your tea are: always choose organic, check the ingredient list, and don’t assume that it’s safe just because it’s expensive. I also recommend staying away from caffeine as much as possible, as caffeine can wear out your adrenals more quickly than just about anything else, including processed sugar.

All of this knowledge in hand, some of my favorite types of teas are:

Organic, Decaf Green Tea: enjoy hot or cold with fresh squeezed lemon and a drop or two of raw honey or stevia in the raw. My favorite brand is Allegro, found at Whole Foods.

Asparagus Extract Tea: it doesn’t taste as bad as it sounds and is packed with folic acid, making it an incredibly nutrient-dense option. I buy mine here on Amazon.

Fresh Cilantro, Parsley, or Basil Tea: as shown above, steep about one half bundle of herbs in hot water for about ten minutes. Strain and enjoy a wonderfully detoxifying and fresh tea. Warning: Cilantro is a powerful heavy metal chelator, and doctor/naturopath supervision is recommended.

Castor Oil Packs


Castor oil is derived from the castor seed and has been used as a health remedy for various ailments for centuries. Although the safety of the internal use of castor oil is much debated, there are many positive effects of using castor oil topically. The castor oil pack is the most common, and arguably most beneficial, of all castor oil therapies.

There are many benefits of incorporating castor oil packs into your healing protocol, but perhaps the greatest is the effect on the immune system. When castor oil packs are used on the abdomen, they have been proven to increase your number of lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are the body’s disease-fighting cells and are mostly created and stored in the lymph tissues. As I mentioned in the first post of this series, your overall health is largely contingent on the health of your lymphatics, as this is the system that collects toxins and debris from all of the tissues in your body. The escalation of lymphocytes that castor oil produces allows your lymphatic system to be quite efficient at clearing toxins, which contributes to your overall ability to fight illness.

Castor oil packs have also been shown to have a positive effect on detoxifying the liver, an organ that is in near constant need of support in the toxin-riddled world we live in. Additionally, in my experience, castor oil packs have been helpful in calming rumbly intestines and stomach aches.

One word of caution is that castor oil should probably be tested on a small patch of skin prior to administering a large dose. It has been known to cause skin reactions in some individuals. Do not take castor oil internally unless instructed by your health care practitioner.

Now, let’s look at how to make and administer a castor oil pack.


– three sheets of organic cotton, cut into squares large enough to cover your abdomen (from the tip of your sternum to about 3 inches below your belly button)

– 1-2 Tbsp Castor Oil

– 1 piece of syran wrap large enough to cover the cotton

– heating pad


To create a castor oil pack, simply stack up your three pieces of cotton and drizzle castor oil as evenly as possible across the top layer of cotton. Place on your tummy, cover top layer with saran wrap, and place the heating pad directly on top. The heat will allow the oil to work through all three sheets of cotton and into your skin. Leave on your tummy for 10-30 minutes. Remove, throw away cotton sheets, wash your tummy, and you’re done!

Oil Pulling


Oil pulling is useful for cutting through plaque, whitening teeth, and removing toxins not only from the mouth but also from the rest of the body. Although oil pulling has gained popularity in the past year or so, it is thought to have originated thousands of years ago in India. While oil pulling is an exceptional (and cheap) way to maintain oral health, it can also aid in detoxing the entire body by stimulating the lymphatics. Some oil pullers have seen improvements in liver conditions, skin conditions, arthritis, and headaches.


– 1-2 tsp of coconut oil or another healthy oil, such as: cold pressed sesame, olive, or avocado oil


Simply gather the oil in your mouth and swish for around 20 minutes. As you’re swishing, try pulling the oil in and out of your teeth, and really work those muscles. The swishing movement works to stimulate the lymphatics, allowing you to gather up more toxins into the oil.

When you’re finished swishing, simply spit out the oil into a paper cup or trash can, rinse your mouth with warm water to remove any excess bacteria, and give your teeth a good brushing with your choice of natural toothpaste.

Toxin Binders

If you are in poor health and plan on doing a lot of detoxing, as I have been, then it may be helpful to take some toxin binders to help bind the mobilized toxins so they can be excreted. In my opinion, this is one of the most important aspects of any detox routine, and in my experience, taking binders makes the process much more tolerable.

Some of my favorite binders are: Pecta Sol, Medi Clay, and Zeolite. Keep in mind that binders should be taken an hour before and after any other medications or supplements.

Stay tuned for the next installment of this series where I’ll cover infrared sauna use and Biomat sessions.

Xx, K

Lemon & Lavender Salt Scrub


For as long as I can remember I’ve had deep lines on my forehead. What can I say, I’m an animated personality. I was never worried about or bothered by them, but when I entered into my late twenties I started taking inventory of every grey hair (yes, I have a few, okay, more than a few) and wrinkle. To remedy my wrinkles I tried numerous fancy moisturizers and face washes, but never noticed much of a difference. When I decided to transition my personal care items to clean, toxin-free products, the fancy (read: expensive) skin care products were some of the first to go.

I’ve been using one version or another of this salt scrub recipe for about 8 months, and I can promise you that my skin is healthier than ever. Those deep forehead lines? Well they are quickly fading away. Perhaps what I love most about this salt scrub is that it cleanses, exfoliates, and moisturized the skin in one simple step. It can also be used all over the body to do the same- this would have been great to use during the long, cold winters that I spent in NYC.

One last thing- keep in mind that this recipe can be adjusted to fit your needs, and feel free to try different types of salts, oils, and scents to see which suits your skin best.

Lemon & Lavender Salt Scrub Recipe

1 1/2 Cups Sea Salt
3-4 Tbsp Coconut Oil
10-15 Drops Lemon Essential Oil (I use Young Living)
7-10 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped and ground with pestle and mortar

If you try a salt scrub recreation, I would love to hear about it, as I am always looking for exciting variations. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter (@KaylaMarieDenny), or simply leave a comment below.

Xx, K

My Detox Routine: Part 1 (Juicing, Detox Baths, Homeopathic Detox Drops, Dry Brushing)

As a caveat to what lies ahead in this post: I am NOT a doctor, and the information presented here should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or naturopath before embarking on an intense detox regimen like the one presented below. Also, the products I recommend are products that I have used or am currently using with success, I am not being paid to recommend them (although, I wouldn’t object!).

There seems to be a lot of curiosity surrounding the topic of detoxing, and whether it’s something you object to or agree with, it’s become a trend that doesn’t seem to be going away. Prior to 2008, the concept of a ‘juice cleanse’ was all but nonexistent among the general public. Nowadays, there are juice bars, organic food, and complicated detox diets a’ plenty. What’s changed in the past few years?

Toxins, toxins everywhere. They’re in our air, water, food, cleaning supplies, beauty products, and even our laundry detergent. The human body has an incredible, innate ability to heal itself, but it simply doesn’t recognize or have the capacity to deal with the bombardment of toxins that it’s faced with everyday. When the body doesn’t recognize a particular substance, or if the liver is already stressed, the body’s response is to store the substance away in our cells, lungs, liver, kidneys, gallbladder, and deep tissue. Unfortunately, as toxins accumulate, they have the ability to lead to illnesses, such as autoimmune disease and cancer. For more information regarding the link between certain toxic substances and cancer, check out this article.

Our bodies simply were not built to detoxify themselves at the rate at which we are now exposed to toxins, and this is why it’s so important to lead a healthy lifestyle. For some individuals whose detox pathways may be inhibited by genetic factors (such as the MTHFR mutation), this may involve detoxing regularly.

Detoxing is particularly important in the life of a Lyme patient because as the Lyme bacteria live and reproduce in our bodies, they also emit neurotoxins. These neurotoxins are the main culprit in Lyme symptoms and cause quite a bit of inflammation and acidity on the cellular level. This cellular inflammation is what causes most of our symptoms and pain. Furthermore, the Lyme toxins combined with the everyday toxins that we’re exposed to in the modern world can easily combine to create a painful and sickly body.

For the past four months, I’ve been waist deep in detox sludge, employing a multitude of different therapies to release the stored toxins in my body. Some of the therapies that I’ve implemented include: juicing, detox baths, dry brushing, homeopathic detox drops, coffee enemas, biomat sessions, sauna sessions, oil pulling, castor oil packs, and drinking lots of herbal teas.

I do most all of these things every single day. It’s a full-time job that takes all of my will power and all of my energy on most days. The rest of this post is dedicated to expanding on the use of juicing, detox baths, dry brushing, and homeopathic detox drops. In future posts I will follow up to discuss the other therapies mentioned.


(This is a super scientific diagram showing the direction in which to dry brush)

Dry brushing:

Dry brushing is used primarily to stimulate the lymphatics. The lymph system is part of the circulatory system and is known as the body’s ‘drainage system’. Made up of an extensive network of lymph nodes and vessels, the lymph system serves to clean cells and clear debris from all over the body. Keeping the lymph system in good working order is an important part of health and should be considered an essential component of any intensive detox protocol. For a comprehensive overview of the lymph system, check out this article.

It is important to know that the lymphatics do not flow on their own, instead they need to be stimulated in some way to produce motion. Dry brushing, as well as other therapies such as sauna, detox baths, deep breathing, and exercise all help to stimulate movement of the lymphatics. A few added benefits of dry brushing are: increased circulation, dead skin removal, skin tightening, cellulite reduction, and super soft skin (even your baby will be jealous).

For best results, do your dry brushing twice per day or before taking a shower or bath. With a soft bristle brush, start at your feet, and in short strokes brush upwards towards your heart. Work your way up your body until you have brushed your legs, tummy, arms, and chest. Just remember that you want to brush in the direction that your lymphs flow (they’re a one way street), and you always want to brush towards your heart. Brushing can be done from 2-20 minutes, I usually spend about 10 minutes brushing while I run my bath.

(This is exactly what I look like while taking a detox bath)

Detox baths:

Detox baths are one of the best ways to clear toxins quickly through the skin (the second largest organ, after the intestines). Another great aspect of these baths is their ability to reduce muscle aches and pains. In addition, as your body temperature rises in the hot bath, your body is able to kill off unwanted bacteria and viruses (for Lyme patients, this means that Lyme and co-infections are being killed in the process, which is great news!).

A number of different products can be used to create a healing detox bath. Some of my favorites are: Epsom salt, sea salt, bentonite clay, mustard seed bath, hydrogen peroxide, essential oils, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda. The key to a super detoxifying bath is using water as hot as you can stand and several cups of product (I use around 6 cups in each bath).

Warning: If you’re very ill, you will most likely feel drained after taking a bath. I cannot stress this enough- GO SLOW. If you aren’t used to taking baths like these, make sure to start at a cooler water temperature, don’t use as much product, and don’t stay in for as long. When I first started these baths, I used 2 cups Epsom salt, medium hot water, and soaked for about 20 minutes.


Homeopathic Drops:

These magic drops help to naturally stimulate detoxification in the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, and lymphatic system. Both the Pekana Trio and Heel Detox Kit are great options. If you’re super sensitive or super sick, I recommend starting with the Pekana Trio, as it’s a bit more gentle on the system.

The normal dose for a healthy individual is 30 drops per day. When I started on these drops, I was so toxic that I had a hard time taking one drop per day. Therefore, I started at one drop per day and then gradually increased my dose as I could tolerate. I would advise starting slowly and gradually increasing once you know your comfort level.



Most people are probably aware of the benefits of juicing, but for good measure, I’ll list a few anyway. Juice delivers highly concentrated vitamins, minerals and enzymes rapidly into the bloodstream, where the nutrients are quickly absorbed. It also allows you to consume a higher quantity and a wider variety of vegetables each day, as opposed to eating them whole. When juiced, many vegetables and some fruits such as leafy greens, beets, and green apples have the wonderful effect of cleansing the liver, kidneys, and blood, which aids tremendously in detoxification.

It’s best to consume juice quickly, or at least on the same day that it was juiced, because that’s when it’s nutrient value is the highest. However, if you store your juice in an air tight container, it can still be consumed for a few days after it was made. Juice fasts have become incredibly popular these days, but I believe that incorporating juice into your daily life is more beneficial than fasting a few times a year, especially if you’re sick and require more protein, like I do.

If you suffer from a chronic illness, detoxing to this extent may seem like a daunting task, and believe me, I completely understand! The detox process can be an intense one and can leave you with some undesirable side effects, such as: dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headache, skin rashes, and intestinal disruptions. It is for this reason that I strongly suggest being under a trained practitioner’s care while embarking on such a protocol. If you are in need of someone to help you oversee the detox process, please email me, and I can give you the name of my doctor as well as a few others who offer guidance via phone consultations.

Remember that the journey to attaining wellness is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Go slow, and set reasonable goals. Be gentle with yourself. Pray often, love much, and keep your head up because wellness is coming for you.

Any questions? Feel free to shoot me an email at

Xx, K

Paleo Blueberry Muffins


Blueberry muffins, the most classic and most enjoyed variation on the muffin, are one of my long-time favorites. I used to love making them for an after school snack when I was in junior high and high school. You know the kind in the box that are loaded with all kinds of nasty non-pronounceable ingredients? Yeah, those are the ones.

Luckily, I’ve wised up to toxic ingredients and have found ways to recreate my favorite treats in a fresh and healthy new way. The below recipe was reworked based off of the blueberry muffin recipe from Elena’s Pantry, and they turned out to be fluffy and delicious. Perfect for both breakfast and snacks, these pretties are sure to make everyone in your household happy.



½ cup coconut flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
6 eggs, beaten until fluffy
15 drops liquid stevia (or to taste)
⅓ cup olive or coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries


In a small bowl, combine coconut flour, salt, and baking soda. In a large bowl, combine eggs, stevia, oil, and vanilla, and blend well with hand blender. Mix dry ingredients into wet, blending with hand blender. Gently fold in blueberries. Place batter into greased muffin tin, we like to use coconut oil for this step. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins

The Lyme Diaries: Jessie’s Story

If you’ve kept up with this blog or The Lyme Diaries series, then you know that Lyme touches lives all around the world. I’ve gathered stories from Lyme fighters in The Netherlands all the way to Washington state. This week’s story comes from my native state, Texas, a state where it is largely thought by doctors and the general public that Lyme does not exist.

However, Lyme Disease recently garnered news coverage (once again) when Texas A&M University presented findings that proved once and for all that Lyme Disease is endemic to Texas and northern parts of Mexico. This article states that, “the risk for Lyme disease is significant in the state of Texas and northern parts of Mexico. Funded in part by a grant to improve the diagnosis of Lyme in veterinary medicine, the findings refute previous discussion and speculation that Lyme disease is relatively non-existent in the southern United States.”

The article also goes on to state that 45% of ticks in Texas carry Borrelia Bergdorferi (the organism that causes Lyme Disease). This new evidence is startling and also proves that Lyme Disease has indeed become an epidemic here in the Lone Star State, a state where doctors are rarely equipped to diagnose Lyme, much less understand how to treat it.

It is my hope that with every news report, article, case study, personal story, and blog post, we are bridging the gap between ignorance and a cure. If you would like to lend your story, I would love to hear from you! Please visit the contact page and shoot me an email.

Sending love and light and prayers to all who suffer.

Xx, K

First Name: Jessie Shaw
Age: twenty-two (Que. The Taylor Swift song)
Gender: Female
Where do you live? Austin, TX

Photo cred: Anna Kraft Photography

Meet Jessie’s adorable pet bunny, Theodore Alexander.

Bunnies make good therapy pets too!

When/Where do you suspect that you contracted Lyme?

I traveled a lot pre-Lyme and can’t pinpoint an exact time. I’m guessing it was in October 2010 at a campground in East Texas, because my symptoms began shortly after that point.

When did you first begin to feel ill or start to notice strange symptoms?

Well, I had chronic mono at the time, so it was difficult to tell where mono ended & Lyme began.

What were they?

I think the muscle pain was the first indicator something was off track. Like I mentioned, I was already pretty under the weather. But then I started spending evening after evening on the couch, leg muscles locked up in pain with little to no relief, and we started questioning the idea that this was a normal bout of chronic mono.

How many doctors did you see before reaching an accurate diagnosis?

My dad is a chiropractor, so all initial research started with him. We kept coming up empty, so I met with a natural doctor here in Austin. She was convinced it was simply the mono, despite having never encountered mono-related muscle pain before, because what else could it be? My parents (who are my main caregivers) & I remained unconvinced.

Were you misdiagnosed with anything prior to being diagnosed with Lyme? If so, what?

Well, at this point, Multiple-Sclerosis started making a quiet place at our table. It hung over us, slowly breaking in. This was just supposed to be mono, how’d we end up at MS? We kept looking and kept coming up empty. In the meantime my muscle pain continued, and I was just plain sick all the time. We were closing in on testing for MS when one day, my dad is watching this TV show, and a character in it had Lyme… misdiagnosed as MS. This caught his attention. He ordered a Lyme test on the off chance this TV show (of all things!) could be on to something. Turns out he was right to trust his doctor’s intuition. After a few tests, consulting with a couple doctors on the East coast and my new (fantastic) doctor here in Austin, we determined Lyme was my unfortunate golden ticket.

What are the main symptoms that you experience currently?

Well, I’m in remission at the moment. Meaning: we think the Lyme is under control & I’ve turned my attentions to helping my body heal. Symptom wise, I’m all over the map. I swing through fevers, nausea, exhaustion, brain fog, dizziness, and generally just feeling sick a lot. All a normal part of a body that’s been under attack & fighting this long. I’m prone to catching a lot of viruses. But alongside all those symptoms, I’ll have days I feel GREAT again too. My mom used to say, “Jessie, slowly but surely the good days will begin to outweigh the bad, and that’s when you’ll know you’re getting better.” I’m in the beginning of that process.

What does your treatment regimen look like?

Right now I’m focusing on supporting my body. I monitor my energy output a lot (I have a job again, crazy!), I do regular detox baths, take daily supplements, and I just started using essential oils. I also exercise when I can; moving your body helps the lymphatic system pump strongly and rebuilds my muscles from all their atrophy. I swim, walk, rebound, and do yoga etc.

How much do your symptoms prevent you from living a normal life?

I have to be more aware of how actions effect my body. If I’m going to hang out with friends, I need to factor in time to recover and time to prepare. I have to be flexible; if my body says it needs to rest I’ve learned to be okay with canceling plans. Also keeping things low-stress is high on my priority list. It can be so liberating to just say no! Nobody should feel guilty for saying no to stress.

What do you like to do in your free time and how is this different than before you were sick?

I got my very first diagnosis the day I graduated high school, so it’s difficult to compare then with now. Everyone’s life is totally different from high school, you know? So that can be confusing sometimes. I do know when I’m not feeling sick I’m a naturally productive person. Now I spend much more time under my covers with my BFF Netflix. Some days, that’s really not so bad. It’s a good balance.

What do you want people to know about Lyme?

I don’t know. This is a hard one for me. Sometimes I get fed up with the ignorance of the general public and want to walk away. I have to remind myself I wouldn’t know either, if this wasn’t my experience. I think I want people to know Lyme is serious. I’d say the majority of the responses I’ve experienced are dismissive or uninformed. I would love to see a world where the Lyme community’s experience is more widely understood, and the gravity of it realized. I think that would make it easier on all of us.

What are you most thankful to have gained, or what important lessons have you learned, from your experience with Lyme?

Lyme has changed my life. It’s taken me a while to accept that. You want to pretend it’s not happening, that life will return to “normal” after you survive (if you survive). But that’s not how it works. I’m grateful for the strength I’ve developed. I’m grateful for the perspective shown me. I’m grateful for the empathy it allows me. I’m grateful for the freedom battling Lyme has given me; once you fight for your life you’re more picky with how you live it. This is a gift.

Quick Update & The Lyme Diaries: Leah’s Story

After the month of May, I decided to take a few weeks of respite from all things Lyme. I stopped reading books or articles about how to heal Lyme, which is something I regularly do to stay on top of my healing game. I even stopped googling random questions, like, ‘why does a full moon exacerbate lyme symptoms?’. My little Lyme ‘holiday’ also involved stepping back from blogging, which admittedly happened more by necessity than by conscious decision.

The truth is, I’ve been much too busy with my intense detox routine to have much time or energy for anything else. I spend hours each day preparing for and taking my two detox baths so that I can sweat my face off and potentially faint in the water. I’ve also added a new little friend, the coffee enema, which I will go into greater depth about in another post. And of course there are biomat sessions, healthy meals and snacks, and gobs of supplements, tinctures, and minerals in between.

Let’s just say that my new routine has me worn out, and the creative juices don’t flow so well when you’ve face planted into the sofa. I will say, however, that what I’ve been doing seems to be working, and even though it’s taken time to see even a tiny bit of progress, I am feeling encouraged and can feel the fog lifting. I am thankful and am praying that this upward swing continues.

Today, I am honored to have the opportunity to share another Lyme lady’s story. You can read Leah’s story below, and I think you will be inspired by her attitude. I also thought this a good time to remind everyone to take the necessary precautions against tick bites (scroll down a few posts to read about Lyme Disease prevention if you haven’t already), as the summer months are notoriously the most common for contracting Lyme.

Until next time,

First Name: Leah
Age: 21
Gender: Female
Where do you live? Madison, WI

Leah (between her parents) with her immediate family

When/Where do you suspect that you contracted Lyme?

I never saw a tick bite, but growing up I spent a lot of time camping in Wisconsin and I travelled to Colorado in 2004 where I become seriously ill with an unexplained illness. My doctor suspects I could have been bitten on any of those trips.

When did you first begin to feel ill or start to notice strange symptoms?

For as long I can remember I’ve had a weak immune system. In 6th grade (2004) I missed 30 days of school because of two mono-like illnesses. My body never recovered from those illnesses and throughout high school my symptoms became worse. Four months into my freshman year of college I got mono (for real this time) and my body practically shut down. There were a few days where I actually thought I was dying. I was even taken to the ER and tested for serious illnesses such as cancer because of my abnormal white blood cell count.

What were they?

For many years my main symptom was extreme fatigue. I woke up feeling tired every single day and I often felt sick (I don’t have a better way to explain it, I just felt crappy). I experienced bloating for many years, but when I studied abroad in Chile my junior year of high school my stomach issues became much worse. My anxiety increased over the years and my senior year of high school I started having small panic attacks almost every day. I became depressed and even had suicidal thoughts. When I became sick with mono 2 ½ years ago all of my symptoms were amplified. I was so exhausted that even lying down felt like work. I just wanted to sink into the ground. These last couple years I’ve had a lot of headaches, nausea, body aches, sore joints, and extreme dizziness (so bad I still can’t sit up for more than a few hours each day).

How many doctors did you see before reaching an accurate diagnosis?

There have been A LOT of doctors, both traditional and non-traditional. Some of the doctors were very kind and admitted they didn’t know what was wrong. But others tried to minimize my symptoms and just told me to sleep more or see a therapist. I even saw one of the “best” infectious disease doctors and was basically told “everyone feels tired so it’s not a big deal that you are”.

Were you misdiagnosed with anything prior to being diagnosed with Lyme? If so, what?

Last year I was diagnosed with chronic mono, but otherwise I haven’t had too many actual diagnoses. Many doctors seemed confused by my symptoms and suggested I was depressed or didn’t get enough sleep. For years I blamed myself for feeling sick because if there wasn’t anything “wrong” with me then it must be my fault.

What are the main symptoms that you experience currently?

My main symptoms are debilitating fatigue and dizziness. Like I mentioned above I can’t sit up much and I can only walk for 5-10 minutes. I also have terrible insomnia, which keeps me up late at night (I still don’t understand why I can’t fall asleep since I’m constantly tired!) I also struggle with headaches, nausea, muscle and joint pain and anxiety. The symptoms range in severity depending on the day or even hour.

What does your treatment regimen look like?

I take a lot of supplements and herbs, which change every few months. Last summer I was on antibiotics for three months, which really wiped me out. I recently started antibiotics again and antifungals after my doctor found fungus in my brain (apparently more recent research shows this is common for Lyme patients). I eat a super clean diet, which is free of gluten, dairy, yeast, eggs, corn, soy, alcohol and most sugar. This last year I’ve been seeing a wonderful woman who does craniosacral therapy (for the headaches and body pain) and energy work. I try to ease the aches and pains with therapeutic yoga, stretching and short walks.

How much do your symptoms prevent you from living a normal life?

I haven’t felt normal in quite some time. Because of Lyme I’m living at home and the majority of my day is spent watching TV. When I do have enough energy to go out I use a wheelchair. I’m really hoping to return to college in the fall, but as any Lyme patient knows, Lyme treatment is fairly unpredictable.

What do you like to do in your free time and how is this different than before you were sick?

I’ve always enjoyed crafts, but when I got sick I started making leather jewelry and actually opened up an Etsy shop ( When I have a little energy I love creating jewelry and forgetting about my illness for an hour. I’ve also really grown to appreciate cuddling on the couch with my mom while we watch our favorite TV shows (The Bachelorette, Project Runway, Long Island Medium, Parenthood and basically anything on HGTV)

What do you want people to know about Lyme?

I would love for people to understand how incredibly lonely it is to deal with Lyme or really any long-term illness. I spend the majority of my day alone and even when I’m around people I feel out of place. I realize it’s difficult for people to totally understand someone else’s struggle, but I wish everyone would take a minute to really think about someone’s situation. Everyone deals with hardships in life and these adversities should connect us, not isolate us.

What are you most thankful to have gained, or what important lessons have you learned, from your experience with Lyme?

I’ve learned that health and happiness are not guaranteed in life, you have to fight for them both. I’ve realized it’s really easy to be sad, but it’s not helpful. For the first two years of being extremely ill I felt really sorry for myself and cried a lot. But after connecting with other Lyme patients and reading “Letting Go: The Pathway to Surrender” (I highly recommend this book) I’ve been able to shift my attitude away from negativity. It really sucks that I’m sick, but I can’t dwell on it. Instead I’ve taken control of my healing process and fight for my health everyday. And most importantly I trust that I will get better. I don’t know when I will, but I do know I have a wonderful life ahead of me.

Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Giveaway!


As Lyme Awareness Month draws to a close, I can’t help but feel somewhat relieved. Sometime last week I realized just how emerged in Lyme facts and education I had become, and it was eating up way too much of my precious brain space. As passionate as I am about spending time bringing awareness to the Lyme epidemic, it’s equally important for me to focus my mind on happy, positive, and enriching thoughts. So it’s officially time to move on to lighter topics. And that means…


To close out the month of May, I’ve decided to host a little giveaway. Below is a list of all of the items that are up for grabs. To enter, just head on over to my Instagram page (@kaylamariedenny) and repost the below photo with the hashtags #lymeawareness and #joyrises. Side note: this giveaway is open to all, and you do NOT have to have Lyme to enter!


Nail Supplies

I don’t think it’s any secret how much I love painting my nails and creating (super fab) nail designs. As cheesy as it may seem to some, it’s been a hobby that has brought me a lot of joy and has also been a wonderful creative outlet during a time when my physical activity level is extremely limited. Whether you’re sick, healthy, a nail art lover, or a more basic manicure type of gal, there’s something here for you.


* Julep nail polish in Tatum
* Sephora by OPI nail polish in Domestic Goddess
* Essie nail polish in A List
* Mini nail files
* Pink hologram nail art flowers
* One surprise BONUS item!

Personal Care

A sweet friend came by to visit me a few weeks ago and brought along a boat load of goodies that I’ve really enjoyed using. One of the things she brought that I absolutely love is a bath bomb + body butter combo from Lush that smells heavenly. I love it so much that I bought the same combo for this giveaway! I also included my favorite flavor of Eos lip balm, because well, you can never have too much lip balm.


* Eos lip balm in Sweet Mint
* Lush Bright Side Bubble Bar (citrus scented)
* Lush Charity Pot hand and body lotion

Detox & Health

Whether you have a chronic illness or not, detox is a crucial part of maintaining health in this day and age. It’s impossible to avoid all of the chemicals and toxins in the environment today, but there are some things we can do to keep our bodies from becoming overburdened with toxins. Tea and essential oils are easily some of my favorite therapeutic remedies to support my body into a healthier statement, so naturally I’ve included some of each in this giveaway.


* Loose leaf Liver and Gallbladder Renewal detox tea from Herb Farm Austin
* Tea ball
* 5ml bottle of Wintergreen essential oil by Young Living

I’ll be randomly selecting the winner of this loot sometime next week, so be on the lookout for that announcement. Good luck!

Sending lots of love and light to all! Xx.

Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Prevention

This post concludes the Lyme Awareness Month series, and thankfully I’ll be moving on to some topics that are a little bit more fun in the coming weeks. Speaking of, next week, I’ll be posting some details about a giveaway that I’ll be doing, so stay tuned for more on that!

Below are some preventative measures to help keep you and your family safe. Prevention is the absolute biggest key in safeguarding yourself against this illness, so please be sure to share this information with friends and family, especially as the summer months approach and outdoor activities become more frequent.

Lyme Disease has been found in every single one of the American states and is present all over the world. This is not a disease that is secluded to the Northeast anymore. It’s everywhere.

Ticks come in all shapes and sizes, and young ticks (nymphs) can be as small as a poppyseed. Do you have freckles? One of those freckles could very well be a tiny tick. Just saying…

Make sure to conduct a full body tick check after you’ve been hiking, fishing, hunting, or even gardening. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve read about people falling ill after doing garden work in their own backyard.

– Be leery of moist areas– leaning up against tree trunks or sitting in an area of thick underbrush, such as on a pile of leaves, is not a good idea, ticks love these areas.

– Dress to protect: Wear a hat, long sleeves, pants, and high socks in light colors when participating in outdoor activities. Light colored clothing will help you to more easily spot a tick, and it’s much harder for ticks to attach through a piece of clothing. Also keep your hair pulled back if you have long locks.

– Consider using insect repellent such as Deet or a natural alternative like Geranium essential oil.

– If you begin to feel fluish or discover an odd-looking rash after spending time outdoors, get to your doctor immediately. Lyme Disease can usually be successfully treated with a short course of antibiotics, but only if it’s caught in it’s early stages.

– Don’t rely on blood tests for a Lyme diagnosis. Lyme blood tests such as the widely used Elisa, are notoriously unreliable, catching only around 70% of cases. Therefore, Lyme is often a clinical diagnosis given only by experienced LLMD’s (Lyme Literate MD’s) .

– You can still have Lyme even if you don’t get the characteristic rash. Most doctors rely on the presence of the bulls-eye rash to confirm a Lyme diagnosis. In reality, however, fewer than 50% of Lyme sufferers recall a bulls-eye rash, and in some studies this number was as low as 15%.

Never be afraid to get a second opinion. Most medical doctors aren’t adequately trained in diagnosing or treating Lyme, so trust your intuition, do your research, and don’t be afraid to get a second or third opinion.

– Be aware of similar conditions. “[Lyme] can mimic every disease process including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), Fibromyalgia, Autoimmune conditions including sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis and MS, Psychiatric conditions including depression and anxiety, and cause significant memory and concentration problems mimicking early dementia. It is called the “Great Imitator” and inaccurate testing – combined with an ongoing scientific and political debate that questions chronic infection – makes it difficult for sufferers to find appropriate care.” (‘Why Can’t I Get Better?’, Dr. Richard Horowitz)

Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Common Questions


As with most chronic illness, Lyme Disease is often misunderstood by outsiders and sometimes even by those who suffer from it. I’ve been asked loads of questions during the past two years since my diagnosis, and many times I find myself stumbling over my words and searching for ways to simplify Lyme in a way that can easily be grasped. It’s no easy task, and I’m still working on my spiel, but the more I speak out the better I get at explaining things (or at least that’s what I’d like to think). Keeping these things in mind, I decided to write a short post answering the most common questions that I get asked about Lyme. If you have a burning question or just generally want to know more, you can always contact me or post in the comments.

1.) What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme Disease is the most prominent infectious disease in the world. Last year 300,000 cases were reported, making this an epidemic of greater proportions than both AIDS and breast cancer combined. Lyme Disease is a stealth bacteria in the shape of a corkscrew that has the capability to inhabit and invade all parts of the human body, including deep tissue, joints, bones, and even vital organs such as the brain, heart, lungs, and liver. To put it simply, Lyme Disease is a deeply debilitating bacterial infection that is easy to catch and difficult to eradicate.

In addition to the Lyme bacteria, what is referred to as Lyme Disease in fact also includes an umbrella of other bacteria, viruses, and parasites (known as co-infections) that are often times passed along with the Lyme infection. These co-infections can be just as debilitating as the Lyme bacteria itself, and they also make treating the illness much more complicated. In effect, a person battling Lyme Disease is not only only fighting one disease or infection, but many. The most common co-infections are bartonella (Cat Scratch Fever) and Babesia, which is a cousin to Malaria.

2.) How do you get Lyme disease?

Lyme Disease is most typically known to be contracted by the bite of an infected Deer Tick . Although these facts are true, Lyme Disease is also carried by at least 8 additional species of ticks, including The Lone Star Tick, which is common in Texas. Research has also shown that other vectors such as fleas, flies, spiders, mosquitos, and mites also carry Lyme Disease and may be just as common vectors for the disease. As if this weren’t enough, there have been many research studies that confirm that Lyme Disease can be sexually transmitted and can even be passed through the placenta during childbirth. Sadly, many mothers unknowingly pass this disease on to their babies.

3.) I thought Lyme disease was easily treatable with a course of antibiotics. Why are you still sick?

If caught in the very early stages, a 28-day course of antibiotics is sufficient in most cases, and although recent evidence shows that antibiotics don’t clear an early infection in up to 36% of patients, the chances of full recovery with little to no residual damage are much greater in the early stages of the disease. If, however, Lyme Disease goes untreated for more than 6 months, it is then considered a chronic infection, which requires a much more virulent effort that can sometimes take years to eradicate.

4.) What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

Lyme is most commonly known for causing joint pain, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms. But did you know that it can also cause symptoms like, neurological impairments, heart defects, vertigo, seizures or seizure-like activity, muscle spasms, hormone imbalance, and air hunger? There are presently over 50 different symptoms associated with Lyme, and since it can literally effect every body system, it can be quite devastating. I’ve listed out my symptoms here to give you a better idea of what life with Lyme can look like.

5.) What is the treatment for Lyme disease?

The most common treatment for Lyme is the use of either high doses of antibiotics, often times administered intravenously like chemotherapy, or a variety of powerful herbs. Both antibiotics and herbs have been shown to kill high quantities of Lyme pathogens, but since no two people are infected with the same pathogenic makeup, it’s often times difficult and time consuming to find a combination of therapies that works. The result of this type of trial and error approach is that it can often take many months or years to find a treatment plan that works for each individual, which is a drain on time, resources, and energy.

6.) How long does it usually take to get better?

That depends greatly on how sick the individual is, how long they have been infected with Lyme, if there are co-infections or other complicating issues present (such as heavy metal or mold toxicity, or a secondary illness), and how well one can tolerate the common pharmaceuticals and herbs are that are used to eradicate illness. Some individuals may heal from Chronic Lyme in 10-14 months while others are confined to bed for 8, 9, 10 years.

7.) Can Lyme Disease kill you?

I’m not going to lie, I’ve googled this question on more than one (very low) occasion, somehow hoping that this disease either wouldn’t get the best of me or that it would at least take me quickly. The google results were never quite satisfying, but suffice to say that Lyme can certainly be fatal in some cases. If the infection is allowed to spread for long enough it can cause serious implications, such as sudden heart attacks, seizures, and strokes, even in young people. The disease process with Lyme is often slow and cruel, but even though it may not be fatal as quickly as a terminal illness like cancer, it certainly should be taken very seriously as it has the capability to be just as deadly.

8.) Where can I learn more about Lyme Disease?

Visit or for more information about chronic Lyme Disease, or feel free to contact me with any questions at all.

May: Lyme Disease Awareness Month

The reason I started this blog was to share my story in an effort to help educate people about the horrors of a disease that has gone largely unnoticed and has affected me greatly. In many ways this blog has been an outlet for me and has also helped me to connect with some truly wonderful people, which were both aspects that I hadn’t really foreseen before I started typing. I am grateful for all that I’ve learned throughout my illness, but I certainly would never have chosen this path for myself, and I cringe to think of how many others walk it with me, which is why awareness is so important. It’s important because this all could have been prevented.

Misconception about Lyme Disease is rampant among the government, insurance companies, medical community, media, and the public alike, and it’s going to take a massive amount of work to set things straight among these entities. I have full faith that we will see a huge shift in the next few years though. May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and I plan to take full advantage of this month to help educate, answer questions, and raise awareness for a disease that has become a silent epidemic.

Last year the CDC reported 300,000 new cases of Lyme, which is up 10 times from the amount that had previously been reported, and also does not include the tens of thousands of individuals who remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with various other illnesses such as, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fribromyalgia, and more. The escalated number of cases reported may have been news to the public at large, but Lyme patients have been calling for revised numbers for many years now. Just to put the 300,000 marker into perspective, the CDC has reported 50,000 new cases of HIV per year, and in 2013, there were 232,000 new cases of breast cancer reported. This makes Lyme Disease more prevalent than HIV and breast cancer combined. Yet, only $9 million dollars of government spending was allocated to Lyme Disease in 2014 as compared to the billions that are thrown into cancer and AIDS research.


A recent study suggests that chronic Lyme Disease patients experience a lower quality life than those with most other illnesses, stating that, “chronic Lyme disease is associated with a worse quality of life than most other chronic illnesses, including congestive heart failure, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and arthritis… The survey also shows that patients with chronic Lyme disease have high disability and unemployment rates. Over forty percent of patients with chronic Lyme disease reported that they currently are unable to work because of Lyme disease and 24% of patients report that they have received disability at some point in their illness. This compares with 6% of the US population who are unable to work due to illness.” (

Despite mounting scientific evidence toward the sophisticated nature of the Lyme bacterium and it’s ability to withstand intensive treatments, the existence of a chronic form of infection (chronic Lyme Disease) is still disputed among many medical professionals, and this is the root of the incredible injustice in patients’ rights and treatment options in the US, Canada, Australia, Western Europe, and elsewhere. All the while, the rate of Lyme Disease continues to grow exponentially each year.


My heart breaks for all of those left in the trenches with this illness, myself included. When emergency rooms won’t see you and countless doctors dismiss you as simply being depressed, it can be a hard road to travel. By treating chronic Lyme Disease, brave doctors run the risk of having their licenses revoked or being sued by unobliging insurance companies for the long-term prescription use of antibiotics, a common treatment for chronic Lyme. Research is limited because funding is so little. More and more people are becoming sicker and sicker with every passing day, and people are dying. The need for more health advocates who are willing to treat this disease is crucial, and the need for awareness and immediate change is dire.

It is for all of these reasons and more that I’ll be publishing a few more posts this month to answer common questions about Lyme Disease as well as some tips for prevention. This disease can pick anyone- there is no genetic precursor, diet plan, or healthy living style that can protect you from the bite of a teeny tiny tick. So know that this could happen to someone you know and love, it could even happen to you, but I pray it’s not so, and that is the reason I write.


PS- To show your support for those who fight tick borne illness, consider buying a t-shirt (here) from one of my dearest friends and bravest warriors I know, Melissa Cox at