A few days ago, I turned 29 and entered into the final year of my twenties. How I have gotten ‘so old’, I have no idea. Birthdays are one of those things that remind you that time is indeed moving forward, that you are in fact growing older, and that the world hasn’t stopped turning just because you’ve been on the couch for two years.
In many ways, I feel like my life stopped when I turned 27, as this was the point in time that my symptoms became increasingly more debilitating and it became evident that whatever was going on with me was clearly very serious. I still feel as though I pressed the pause button on my life in 2012 and have been living in an alternate world of pain and suffering ever since. In my world, every day is scarily similar- marked with some degree of physical and emotional pain and trauma. I have a hard time remembering what month or year it is sometimes, and my tv show schedule is the only reason that I can keep up with what day of the week it is (Sunday means Girls and The Walking Dead). It’s a little bit like the movie Groundhog Day, you keep doing different things, trying different diets, herbs, supplements, and natural therapies, going to new doctors, drawing blood, running tests, and drawing more blood, hoping to trigger a change, but each morning you wake up to the same song on the radio and have to find a way to relive the day one more time.
There are times, and sometimes days at a time, when I feel like I have lost so very much to this disease- my job, my home, my independence, my social life, some friends, and lots and lots of time in which I could be doing the things I enjoy and accomplishing goals. But at the same time, I have to acknowledge all that I have gained. I’ve gained deeper relationships with my family and the close friends that have been so loyal and supportive throughout this mess. Most marriages have not had to deal with the painful and complicated level of suffering that my boyfriend and I have had to walk through for the past three years. You cannot imagine the heartache and guilt associated with a relationship in which one partner is so unimaginably ill unless you have walked through it yourself, and even though it’s been incredibly difficult, it has brought us closer and has taught us a lot about each other’s character. For this I am grateful. As a result of my sickness, I’ve also gained a greater degree of empathy for others, for which I am thankful and am also quite certain that I would not be able to understand without having gone through such a struggle with my own health. On a more personal level, I’ve learned to trust my instincts and my intuition, and I’ve also learned that I can endure far more than I ever thought possible. I’ve come to understand a deeper revelation of the God’s love for me, and I’ve made some precious new friends.
Even though it’s been painful, and I certainly would not have chosen this for my life, I cannot deny that my life has been enriched by this disease. It has taken a lot, but it has also given. And so, here is to my 29th year and hoping that it brings much healing, restoration, and appreciation for myself and others.
Now, let’s eat some cake!
In the history of my life I would never have chosen any flavor of cake or ice cream over a good dark, rich, chocolate, but thanks to Lyme, my taste buds have changed. I’ve also never really been a fan of lemon-flavored desserts, but like I said, my taste buds have changed, and I’ve now joined the ranks of those who prefer a fruity dessert to my former love, chocolate. My main goal for my birthday dessert was to create something that fulfilled my dietary requirements (paleo, no sugar), was light and easy to digest, and was preferably pink (What can I say? l’ll always be a girly girl). For these reasons, I came up with the idea for these coconut-flour-based lemon cupcakes with a light strawberry frosting. The results were quite delicious, and all of that pink sure did make me happy.
Lemony Coconut Flour Cupcakes
5-6 large eggs
1 C coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 C coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 C ghee, melted (omit if you like a bit of a dry cupcake)
Stevia to taste (if using granulated stevia, stir into a tablespoon or two of warm water to liquify granules so that stevia spreads evenly throughout cupcake batter)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat eggs, ghee, coconut milk, stevia, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest together until smooth and creamy. In a separate bowl, combine coconut flour, baking soda, salt, and mix well. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Beat until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust for sweetness if needed. Spoon batter into (coconut oil) greased cupcake tins. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked all the way through.
Strawberry Coconut Frosting
1 C coconut butter
2 C fresh or frozen strawberries
1 tsp vanilla extract
Shredded coconut, I prefer raw, for cupcake topping
Stevia to taste (dissolved in a Tbsp of warm water)
Purée strawberries and whip into coconut butter. Add stevia and vanilla extract and whip into mixture. Use to ice cake or cupcake and top with shredded coconut and/or a slice of freshly cut strawberry.