Home Education

Life Without a Cape: There Are No Supermoms Here

April 18, 2016
[dropcap]I[/dropcap] was hoping that I could get through this series without talking about my health much because I hate talking about my health, but in the comments that came up on the first post, it was very evident that I need to explain myself because more than one of you expressed shock at the idea that I am or ever have been low energy.

So here goes.

In which I tell my story and explain the genesis of The Low-Energy Mom's Guide to Homeschooling. What could I know about this topic? Plenty.

I was born.

Just kidding. We’ll be here all day if I start there.

So let’s start at the end of elementary school, at which point I started feeling sick and tired all the time. I’m not sure exactly what age I was when that happened — it’s all a little blurry. But by seventh grade I had weird fevers and I had to go around on crutches because my right leg hurt so badly at the hip that I couldn’t walk on it.

My parents were amazing and diligent and they took me all over the place when there wasn’t a satisfactory diagnosis in town. A couple times, at Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, I was given a shot right in the hip joint — I still remember the terrifying length of that needle! — that helped me regain the use of my leg.

But the fevers continued, and I spent a lot of my freshman year of high school fighting a nameless mystery infection that some doctors said was in my head. I cannot explain to you what it is like for a kid who just wants to keep up with the other kids to be told that she’s making it up or imagining it for some reason. I mean, I wanted to go to school. I already knew about boys, but I had also discovered geometry.

It was during that time that a family from my dance studio mentioned to us that their daughter had Lyme Disease and maybe I ought to be tested as well. We were told that “there is no Lyme” in our area, which just proves that many of the best doctors in town had a lot to learn. We traveled out of town to a doctor who gave the Western Blot test to our whole family. It’s not an amazingly accurate test, but one thing is true about it, and that is that there are no false positives.

I might have been the worst, but we were all sick. Even the dog had Lyme.

I also tested positive for multiple coinfections, including mononucleosis and babesiosis.

Thus commenced my many years of treatment. I took multiple antibiotics, quinine, pain killers, and other drugs to help me sleep and function. At one point, all food tasted like metal to me. By age 16, my eyes had failed {I am legally blind without my contacts} and my thyroid was shot.

The treatment did eventually help, however, and around age 20, I was well. I distinctly remember the surreal feeling of being … normal. It didn’t feel normal to me, though,  and so every single day I woke up and was shocked at how remarkable good health was.

For a few years, things went great. But Si and I got married, I became pregnant a few months later, and I didn’t do so well at pregnancy. I was horribly nauseous for all of the months of pregnancy — all. I miscarried the second pregnancy. The third pregnancy was the worst of them all. I was placed on bed rest and given a drug to help me keep the pregnancy. It made me horrendously sick and I could only keep down about 400 calories per day for a number of months. In spite of that, I managed to gain a whopping 85 pounds.

To say my body has never been the same is an understatement. Not that A-Age-11 isn’t worth all of the pain and humiliation, because she is, and I’d do it all over in a heartbeat.

After that, I don’t remember a whole lot for years. It was all a whir of nursing and pregnancy and newborns and toddlers. When my youngest was born, I had three children three and under, plus a six-year-old. I hemorrhaged after my C-section and lost about half of my blood supply. At my six-week check, my blood levels were the same as they had been directly following my hemorrhage. I was technically at transfusion level, but that carries a level of risk with it, and since I was up and walking around {a number of the staff said they had never seen someone with this level of anemia able to walk}, they decided to monitor me instead.

But of course they never told me to come back, and I was so overwhelmed by having all these little people that I never thought about it.

Ten months later, my husband became sick and almost died. I mention this only because we often forget that stressful and traumatic events can turn on bad genes {something I’ll talk about in a future post}.

I had not felt truly well since my first pregnancy in my early 20s, but something changed about four years ago. I started to decline. I even began to suspect that my Lyme had returned. I had to cut back my daily walk a bit, and then a bit more, until finally I couldn’t do it at all. Anything heavy — such as my laundry detergent — had to be kept low because even though I’d grabbed it from the same shelf for years, I no longer had the strength to move it.

I kept blogging and reading, yes. I even did some speaking, though one time I was in bed for a week after giving a simple 45-minute talk. I still had brain energy, and I have always felt better when I was able to think about something other than myself. The world of ideas gave me relief from the reality of my physical world, and it also often gave me enough energy to do something more taxing, such as make dinner.

It was at this point that I decided to do research on how to fix myself. My husband is a holistic nutritionist, but he couldn’t figure me out. Considering his line of work, it was sort of embarrassing. For me, I mean. He never expected to be able to help everyone who crossed his path, but I felt like I was bad advertising.

Two years ago, I began to learn some things that turned me around, physically speaking. In fact, I feel like I am almost “normal energy” on an average day. Whatever that means. It isn’t the same as the feeling of vibrant health I had in my 20s, but I’ll take it!

It’s been a long road, and for years and years, I homeschooled with close to NO energy, and you know what? It went okay. I mean, it’s nothing you’d decorate a cork board with, but we learned stuff and I don’t think we’re any worse for the wear. In fact, I would say that most of the time, we thrived! In spite of it all, we have many happy memories of those early years, the children and I.

So that’s me.

On Facebook, one of you declared that if I was low-energy then you were practically dead. Ha! After I finished laughing, I said that energy is a continuum. I’m worse off than some and much better than others.

And that’s the truth.

I tell you all of this not so you’ll feel badly for me — in fact, if you do that, I will probably be horrified. But I want you to know where I’m coming from. To me, talking about homeschooling as a low-energy mom isn’t theoretical — it’s the life I’ve lived and reflected on for almost ten years.

All of us live life without a cape. There are no supermoms here.


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52 Comments

  • Reply Erika July 30, 2019 at 11:36 am

    So encouraging to read this! I was always a type A, go, go, go kinda girl (and in my mind I still am) until my early twenties and since then have ebbed and flowed trying to figure out what the heck my problem is (12 year journey here?‍♀️). Every time I have to lay down again instead of cleaning or playing with the girls or doing something I feel like I am failing. I’ve been getting better and then hit a bump in the road recently and have been feeling overwhelmed and almost depressed. Ugh! And school starts for us next week! Anyway, thank you for sharing!!!

  • Reply Andrea July 30, 2019 at 3:29 am

    Yes, hard childhood here. I had asthma and passed multiple times in the hospital. Then it got better at teenage years and after first live born child (I had an abortion then I had to take meds and also bed rest for my LO), I had an anaphylactic shock at my boy’s birth, my allergies came back like hell. After that I was having these shocks multiple times. I got better with time today I need my meds everyday and I am incredibly allergic to multiple things from a small cold to food and Inflammation is terrible it gets you tired for just nothing. And I am a single mother by choice.. Ahaaaa… Besides being an introverted… I hope you will give me some good ideas!!
    Thanks for your blog

  • Reply Helena Holden July 23, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    Thank you for sharing this and giving me hope. I first encountered Lyme as a teenager, had severe joint pain blamed on growth pains and one year of headaches my senior year of high school. After some testing I was diagnosed with Lyme and EBV, given one week of antibiotics and called cured. My body eventually got stronger on its own. I haven’t thought of Lyme until having my three children and extremely stressful year. One morning I woke up with the worst case of Bell’s palsy. Since nothing was helping, I finally asked for the Western blot and sure enough, it was positive. In spite of the treatment, I still have “flare ups.”
    Anyways, I have been wanting to homeschool for a while. My husband was really worried about me and so we did a hybrid school for the first two years of his schooling. This year we decided for various reasons to try and do full CM homeschooling for all three of my kiddos. Sometimes I thought maybe I was crazy trying to do this. There are times when I can’t even think straight and feel like I can barely take care of the basic needs of my family, let alone feeding them ideas and teaching them.
    When you mentioned you had Lyme disease, my jaw dropped. You give me hope that in spite of the struggle with chronic health issues, it can be done! I can’t wait to read more of your blog posts about low-energy moms.

  • Reply Shannon Perin June 27, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    WOW! I really enjoyed reading your story. Not the part where you were so sick, but the fact that your parents were amazing, and you overcame many infections, had children when I bet the thought was the farthest from your mind, and kept trucking on living your life as normal as possible. I, too, have very low energy. I am not sick, I just don’t eat right and it shows. When I do, I can move mountains, but I make bad choices to suit my tastebuds. Anyway, I wanted to make sure that I was going to be able to homeschool my kids, but I have low energy, and saw this post and just had to read it!I plan to blog my stories as well. My family thinks that I am a Supermom, but I feel like a failure 90% of the time. I’m overwhelmed and undernourished. Time to get my a– in gear! Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Reply Ryann May 13, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    I am in the process of printing out your whole Low-Energy Mom series (after meaning to read it a year ago and never getting back to it on the screen). As I skimmed this post I nearly cried. I’ve had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis for years (and suspected it), but this past year I finally got a diagnosis, and found something that helps (Autoimmune-Paleo Diet), and coincidentally, it was my first year homeschooling. We transitioned my 3rd grade daughter from public school to AO, but put my 5yo son in public kindergarten. My husband and I have been having some serious and very difficult discussions about whether we should homeschool next year, and whether we should homeschool both, or just my daughter again. I want to do full on AO with no interruptions for pick-up time. I am inspired by the things I’m reading by others who have done CM/AO for years. I know I’m barely dipping my toes in understanding Charlotte Mason’s ideas and my application is still very amateur. My husband is supportive of homeschool in general, and wants to support me whole-heartedly, but has serious concerns about what I can realistically accomplish. It doesn’t help that when things fall apart at home I sometimes vent to him. (That’s what BFs are for, right? But he usually only hears the negative. I’m working on that.) Anyway, all this to say. I remembered this series and came back to it to look for evidence that I wasn’t doomed to fail because of my weaknesses (health + some bad habits). I skimmed this post and wanted to cry because I can relate to the challenges of your health, but you have lived through years of homeschooling during those challenges. So, I’m not doomed to failure. I might fail. But just because I have Hashi’s doesn’t mean that I cannot be successful at homeschooling. Thank you. ♥

  • Reply Kristina Quiram April 14, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Hi Brandy – I just finished your boot camp and had no idea this was your health history! I have some kind of undiagnosed illness that has plagued me for six years with extreme fatigue and joint pain. I am so encouraged to hear that you have been able to homeschool through it and are able to look back and say it was a good choice. I am often afraid that I’m selling my kids short, especially when I can’t do all the things all the time. I’m starting to see how that is actually very good for them though. I came to your website tonight to try and find a spelling curriculum that I can’t find in my notes from Boot Camp and stumbled upon this. I was feeling so discouraged today and I think God led me to this article on purpose to lift my eyes. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply Kim April 29, 2019 at 10:14 pm

      Kristina, I happened along this blog and have to reply to your post. Have you looked into eliminating the nightshade plants in your diet? When I read that you had extreme fatigue and joint pain for years, it jumped out at me because it was as if it could be my own post. I found out I had celiac disease and after going gluten free, initially my pain went down a lot. However, I started eating more potatoes to replace the wheat. For years my joints felt enflamed and I was so tired. Anyway, I eventually took potatoes, tomatoes and peppers out of my diet. Now the joint pain is gone, unless I cheat on the diet. Still a lower energy person, but much much better than it was. That’s just my story and I know everyone is different, but felt I had to share.

      • Reply Brandy Vencel May 1, 2019 at 9:41 am

        Thank you for sharing! Eliminating night shades to see what happens is brilliant! ♥

      • Reply Kristina May 1, 2019 at 6:34 pm

        Thanks for sharing, Kim! I’ve been on the AIP diet going on eleven weeks now. It’s like an extreme Paleo diet – pretty much just meat, vegetables (excluding nightshades) and fruit. It’s helped my fatigue somewhat, but not my joint pain. So glad you figured out an answer to your health problems! Some ailments are so puzzling! All the best to you.

  • Reply ann November 20, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Each time I have had a season of low energy and struggle, I tend to yell and lose all patience at least once a day. I hate it! It is not good for me or the kids! Yet, it comes so fast, it blind sides me. Then I have less energy. Plus I need to spend more trying to fix this horrible mess I have made. I am sure other’s have dealt with this. Any ideas?

  • Reply Ryann April 8, 2018 at 1:56 am

    Thank you SO much for sharing this! I have been tired most of my life and not had enough strength and energy to do normal everyday things. However, I’ve been seriously considering home schooling my daughter. This idea terrifies my husband (he told me so), because there’s so much that I can’t do daily as it is. Your story reassures me that my plan might work. I might be able to actually home school my girl.

    Incidentally, I’ve been reading lots about these genes that turn on and off lately. I’m on the autoimmune paleo diet right now (restricted phase) and have more energy and clarity of mind than usual. I love how you mentioned how you woke up every day shocked at how remarkable good health is. I can relate to that!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 9, 2018 at 9:34 am

      I’m so glad this was an encouragement for you! Perhaps you and your husband could set up a test year? Rather than committing to a whole lifetime of homeschooling, I mean — just test it out and see how it works and whether it IS too exhausting.

      I’m so glad the autoimmune protocol is helping you! I looked at it, but after GAPS and how devastating it was for me (even though it helped a couple of my children quite a bit — it’s not that I think GAPS is bad), I was afraid!

      • Reply Ryann May 13, 2019 at 9:53 pm

        Brandy, I just left a new comment… I didn’t even realize I’d read this particular post before AND commented on it! We did do a test year and I loved it. My new comment is a novel, but thank you *again* for writing this post. ♥

  • Reply Jenny April 2, 2017 at 3:34 am

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Rose August 30, 2016 at 9:54 am

    God bless you for being brave enough to share your story and inspiring us that we all have issues, struggles and to make the best of it. I love especially that you say those early years doing HS were happy memories

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 30, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      Oh, thank you Rose! I do know that God can make hard years beautiful years. ♥

  • Reply Molly August 24, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    I have a similar story. I have been sick for at least eight years, homeschooling for six, have five kids, and was just diagnosed with Lyme Disease six months ago. I am four months into my treatment and seeing small improvements. Nothing huge but small victories. I have to admit giving up homeschooling is very tempting on the days it feels impossible. Thank you for your posts.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 24, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      Oh, hang in there, Molly! ♥ Fighting Lyme is such a hard battle, I know. I will pray for you!

  • Reply Julie July 1, 2016 at 4:42 am

    I am so grateful I found your blog! I had rheumatic fever as a child twice and was told that it would take a toll on my energy…which it did but eventually I, like you, had an upswing a long one to the point that I kind of shoved all of it out of my mind and forgot about it with all the distractions of motherhood. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t go back to having the energy of most of the other mom’s I knew but it became a new normal. So when things started getting hard again over the past year I have been really frustrated with myself. And my mother in law (who comes from the Amish and thinks the house should look perfect ALL the time) does not help. I’d really like to just tell her why but it will just be an excuse in her mind so I don’t bother. Anyway, it’s so good to know I’m not the only one who struggles with this. I never thought I’d have a homeschool but 1 of my 3 school aged kids is home due to some anxiety issues and now come to find out bullying. I’m excited to keep reading your series to get some tips on how to do this especially when my body doesn’t feel like moving as much as I’d like it to. Thanks so much for what you’re doing here!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 1, 2016 at 7:07 am

      Oh, I will be praying for you. And I think I’d have some anxiety issues too, with the bullying! Hang in there, Julie! ♥

      • Reply Julie July 3, 2016 at 9:53 am

        Yes just found out about that I totally get why she was freaking out about going now. It explains a lot now we are trying to figure out how to go about dealing with it. Thankfully she loves homeschooling and we have plenty of friends who homeschool as well so when there’s field trips she can ride along and it gives me a break to try and catch up on everything else.

  • Reply Anna June 18, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    I just discovered your blog through Mystie Winkler’s link to this series on her homeschool audit workshop. I can so relate and I’m so thankful you wrote about this. I have been struggling with a chronic illness for the last 4 years and it is so discouraging at times. I’m homeschooling my 4 children and often I feel like I’m failing them completely, just because we don’t do “enough” because I’m laying on the couch for half the day. I get what you mean about having the mental energy but not the physical… so many lovely things that I’d like to do but can’t always make happen. God’s grace is sufficient though, and He will bless our weak efforts if we give them to Him!

  • Reply Kelly May 24, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your personal story. I’m a lung transplant patient almost out 3 years. I have an autoimmune disease called Sarcoidosis. I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to know someone truly understands. I’ve come to terms with I’ll never be the old me but I still grieve her at times. So thankful for my 2nd chance to raise my younger ones.

  • Reply Monique Laura May 11, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Your life is a beautiful sonnet. If you consider that the apostle Paul needed God to slow him down through a thorn in his flesh; you are in good company. God has slowed you down just enough to write to us, encourage us and translate beautiful and deep thoughts about living and learning with our children. Some ministry you have! I absolutely love your posts. It makes deeper knowledge accessible to someone like myself. Keep writing.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 12, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      Oh, thank you, Monique! ♥

    • Reply Arenda March 2, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      Beautifull said, Monique! I agree!

  • Reply Jen April 23, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Wow. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve had some health issues as well…my headaches have gotten better but I have a nagging fatigue and I just hurt…all the time, sometimes more, sometimes less…but I can’t remember the last time I was completely pain free. I’m curious about the things you do to help you get through the days when you feel like you just don’t have it in you. I’m seeing a functional medicine doctor and for a while, a naturopathic chiropractor but I can’t afford to go to her right now. I have five kids. A 3 year old, 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 8th grader. My olders are getting more independent and that is helping.

  • Reply Bek April 21, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Thanks for your story Brandy, I really appreciate your openness.
    I know this string of posts is supposed to be about low-energy mums, but given your personal experience with extreme and ongoing health issues starting in childhood ,I was wondering if you could maybe do a post from the perspective of the child?
    My dd is now 14 and was diagnosed with ME/CFS at age 4 after having multiple viral infections- Epstein Barry, Ross River Virus, Bamah Forest Virus (last 2 common in Australia) and a bunch of others, and has the allergies and severe asthma too.
    It can be very demoralizing for the child to feel that they are the only one of their friends that can’t do as much stuff.
    We talk a lot about energy budgeting and planning ahead for things but any other tips and tricks you’ve picked up along the way would be great.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      Well, I must admit that I think diagnosis at age 4 is different from diagnosis at age 14. That is so hard!

      This is what I shared once on the AO Forum, if you don’t mind me quoting myself. 🙂

      So here is what I would tell you: sickness was very formative for me. I think we have to remember that this education is about character formation above all, and when we say education is an atmosphere, we actually mean learning through what comes our way, including illness. So, while my parents let me cry, I think that sometimes they coddled me. They were afraid, and rightly so, but still, I maintain. On the other hand, they were really good about encouraging me to do what I could on a good day, even if it was sometimes going to be followed by three bad days because of it. I think that was good — I learned to make hay while the sun shines. 🙂

      … I would worry most about his response to his own illness. This is a trial that some of us are given, and how we respond to it determines who we are in adulthood. Being in pain isn’t an excuse to be grouchy to others, and actually it is an opportunity to learn to be gracious while young — not everyone gets that.

      I wouldn’t be afraid to push him to do karate whenever he can. I was a ballerina. I danced when I could. It was good for me — much better than doing nothing when I was able to do something. I got behind. I wasn’t very good. But I really think that continuing to do the things — dance, drama, etc. — was very good for me.

      Anyhow, just a few thoughts. Some of this really depends on how sick he is at the time, of course. There were plenty of weeks where I did absolutely nothing other than make it through the day. But capitalizing on the good days, and learning to do *some* things in spite of the pain — learning to muscle through — is very formative, I think.

      I don’t know if this helps at all, but it’s how I’ve answered a similar question before. 🙂

      • Reply Bek April 24, 2016 at 4:18 pm

        Would love to see the original post…do you have a link you could send?

        • Reply Brandy Vencel April 24, 2016 at 4:45 pm

          It’s in the LD/Special Needs private forum. You would have to request membership to that private group in order to see it — which you might want to do, actually! To request membership, go to your User CP and click on group memberships in the left sidebar. 🙂

          There is an extra layer of privacy for that group due to its sensitive nature. We wanted the parents to feel free to talk in a way they might not if everyone there could read their posts, if that makes sense. 🙂

          • Bek April 30, 2016 at 10:53 pm

            Thanks heaps….will get over there asap.

  • Reply Angelique April 20, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Comparison is he thief of joy. Certainly nothing personal to that FB mom but Don’t let yourself go there! It is a poisonous temptation(that I struggle with constantly) to see what other people are accomplishing and then working out a complicated mental algorithm to “prove” that it’s only because their life is easier than mine (yeah, but, she’s healthier/has a supportive family/has plenty of money/whatever). It’s basically pridefulness on my part, wanting to prove that I’m as good or better than everbody. Plus it’s a fools errand — we don’t even completely understand ourselves, let alone others, there’s no way we can even know who’s life is “harder” on this earth. We have to trust in God and His will for us, and then trust some more, and when that gets difficult, trust Him even more, evrn if it means holding on to His will and His goodness by your fingernails.

  • Reply Diana April 19, 2016 at 4:53 am

    Brandy, thank you for sharing. My cousin’s adolescent son is going through this journey right now — Lyme disease, extreme nausea, and multiple infections including encephalitis. The whole family just had a round of strep A that really set him back. But, he is benefiting from IVIG treatments, and his parents are rock stars with seeking out holistic health. They aren’t homeschoolers, but my cousin has a big family, and I think she will enjoy reading about your journey. I’m glad to read about it, too, since I follow your blog so closely and take a lot of inspiration from you, a fellow Ambleside Online mama. Thanks for opening up to us — and for demonstrating that life can be done in spite of these setbacks.

  • Reply Amber Vanderpol April 18, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, Brandy, and my goodness, what a journey! I am so glad you are writing this series. Thanks to the fact that I’m not pregnant or in the first 16 months after having a baby, and I am watching my diet extremely carefully and taking some supplements that seem to work well for me, I’m doing just about as well as I ever have energy-wise. It is a good place to be, but it feels pretty precarious at times. The cliff still feels perilously near sometimes…

  • Reply Megan April 18, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    My husband was diagnosed with Lyme Disease two years ago, and we’ve been fighting it since then. It’s something he’s had since he was a young boy, it turns out. One of the issues he deals with is severe brain fog, so anything that requires much thinking is out. So I can’t count on him for much help. We have four children with another on the way, so homeschooling for me seems like a huge daunting task. I don’t (think I) have LD, but it’s so hard for me to get through a day and hold it all together. I’m trying to find helpful ideas online from other HS mamas, but still floundering. I wish there was a cape I could pick-up somewhere that would help. 😉 It’s encouraging to hear that someone with LD was able to feel better. I’m hoping that soon my husband can feel even just a little better and not slide backwards.

  • Reply Virginia Lee April 18, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story, Brandy. Your realness and openness are such an encouragement! How beautiful it is when we do not compare, but instead cheer each other on, pray for each other in hardship, and rejoice together in the triumphs. I am so thankful you are willing to share the wisdom God has given you so that we can learn from each other as well. And how often I have learned from you. =)

    I’m not normally a low energy mama, and I praise God for that! I’m an ENTJ, so that is a blessing in the energy department and other homeschool areas. But it is a real challenge being an ENTJ during pregnancy. I have some physical issues that make pregnancy difficult. We’ve had multiple miscarriages, deliveries that have been very close calls, NICU babies, preemies, and bed rest. Being an ENTJ seems to mean my mind is often at odds with my body’s limitations during pregnancy and the newborn stage. So I am looking forward to this series because of that.

    Even if I am only a temporary low energy mama, and I guess we never do know what God’s plans are in that area, I am an always grateful mama, for your humility and your willingness to come alongside us and share openly the work He has done in your life. To Him be the glory for it all.

  • Reply Ann-Marie April 18, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Now, I beg to differ {a new phrase my 9 year old is loving}!

    I truly think that you should have a cape since you are a super-hero momma indeed. Think of all the perseverance you have shown over the years and the strength and courage that is needed at times is most likely more of the superhuman type 😉 I knew bits and pieces of your’s and Si’s story, but, thank you for connecting those missing dots 🙂 I was not aware of the Lyme diagnosis. That must have been a terribly frightening experience for you. Did you have any problems with secondary anxiety as a result of it all? I suffer from anxiety too, but, already had it and the physical issues of Crohns and undiganosed B12 deficiency for a year really ramped up the anxiety aspect of things too 🙁 Glad to say that like you, with time and paying very close attention to my body, that things are MUCH better than a few years ago. Do you believe in redemptive suffering, Brandy? I truly believe in it and have offered up my suffering in the past few years for others who need blessings. I also feel that at times of suffering that God is pulling me closer to Him and trying to get my attention once in a while since I tend to lean into Him hard during those times. One positive thing I have noticed is that with suffering there always comes blessings. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  • Reply Jenny April 18, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    It is helpful to hear your story. I, too, was very surprised to hear you have had low energy. I have benefited so much from your writing, that I’m thankful you had the brain energy to read, reflect and share! I look so forward to learning more through this series. AND, I’m hoping you share how you protect your family from Lyme’s Disease. It’s big where we are, and I sometimes feel like it’s just a matter of time before someone gets it.

  • Reply Tara April 18, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    “Two years ago, I began to learn some things that turned me around, physically speaking.” You’re gonna tell us about these things, right? 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 18, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      I am, but I want to be very careful — I can’t promise anyone that what has been helping me will help them. My goal is to share some general principles that will give some direction to people who want to try some new things but aren’t sure where to start. 🙂

      • Reply Tara April 18, 2016 at 1:44 pm

        Oh, for sure. I suspect that some of the things you will be talking about (you mentioned MTHFR, for instance) are things I’ve already been studying but I figure you’re farther ahead than I am, and I love to hear from real people about their knowledge and experience of these things. We’re all so different, aren’t we?! Definitely no “one size fits all”!

  • Reply Melanie Ireland April 18, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I too feel like I am better than some but worse than a lot when it comes to low energy and pain. I was finally diagnosised with Lyme disease and mononucleosis along with other infections eight months ago. The treatment is taxing but I am so glad to finally have a great dr to work with. Right now the brain fog is really bad so getting every thing done for school has been more of a challenge. I’m glad to hear that your family is surviving your battles with sickness and low energy. It gives me hope that everything will work out for us also. We have a boy, our youngest, who just turned six and has been diagnosised with global developmental delays. We held him back from kindergarten this year but I have to make a decision about homeschooling him in the fall. I do not trust that public school is where he should be but I also fear I do not have the energy or mental stamina to keep up with this active fun little guy. I love homeschooling though and cherish the time I am able to spend with each of my three kids. Thank you so much for the encouragement you share on your blog and podcasts. I really enjoy them.

  • Reply Betty April 18, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Wow! We don’t get to hear from many moms like you, Brandy….like me. I’ve been like you described most of my life, except that I have a lot of brain fog which makes it hard to read some times.

    It’s really frustrating most days. My energy level is very unpredictable. But the Lord has placed the boundary lines in my life and when I seek my happiness within those lines, life is sweet. The Lord knows what He is doing. It can be a bit lonely some times and the temptation to spend too much time researching is very real. But at the same time, I’ve needed to be my own advocate as no doctor I’ve come across had been able to connect all the dots and all the issues. So I do what I can eating paleo, taking too many supplements, trying to do all I can to give myself the best chance to be healthy. But I can’t control all the details and there are still way too many days where I just have to accept where I’m at and adjust. Some of the adjustments have been painful–I’ve had to realize that I can’t carry out a full AO year, or even close. But the Lord also gave me a child who can’t handle it either. God is good and faithful and gives last of grace for which I’m very grateful! These issues cause me to look to Him and be more aware of how utterly dependent I am on Him. And that’s not a bad place to be!

  • Reply Amanda April 18, 2016 at 7:43 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. My best friend has Lyme’s disease and the cross that she has been asked to bear it so humbling to see. I say the same for you. It’s a gift to encourage others by sharing your story. Thank you!

  • Reply Hannah Elise April 18, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. As a mom who suspects thyroid and adrenal issues, as well as MTHFR defects, but has yet to actually go back to the doctor to pursue the testing (actually had an appointment at the start of the month and had to cancel due to freak snow that required my husband to go into work early for cleanup), and who is trying to decide if she can survive homeschooling her eldest (who is on the autism spectrum) when he ages out of integrated preschool this summer, on top of an anxious three year-old and a clingy one year-old nursling… and NOT drive herself into the grave in the process… This was encouraging.

    My heart says to homeschool. My body says, “Are you CRAZY?! Either you’ll push yourself back into an acute health crisis, or you’ll end up regretting your words and actions toward your family!”

    O.o

    To say that there are those of us who need to hear your story, is an understatement.

  • Reply Sharron April 18, 2016 at 5:38 am

    Thank you for sharing all of that! Your title says it all. I think in our desires to not be complainers we can sometimes act like we have no struggles. At least that’s what I find in my circles. It can cause one to feel quite lonely.

  • Reply Catie April 18, 2016 at 5:28 am

    “I already knew about boys, but I had also discovered geometry.” LOL I learned so much about you in this post! 😉 THANK YOU for sharing more of your personal story. I love your blog and knowing more of the girl’s (lady’s? woman’s?) story behind it means a lot. A lot of us ‘out here’ look up to you and sharing things like this make you even *more* approachable. 🙂

    But seriously. That is a CRAZY story! I hope this series includes an ending somewhere along the lines of “and then we figured out the problem, and I’ve been better ever since!”

    (I’m trying very hard not to feel bad for you, but only since you asked! 🙁 ) I’ll keep you in my prayers!

    • Reply Dawn April 18, 2016 at 9:36 am

      I’m with Catie. On all points. Thanks for sharing, Brandy.

      I would like a cape, though – even if it doesn’t mean anything.

      • Reply Catie April 18, 2016 at 11:10 am

        Oooh! ME TOO! 😀

      • Reply Brandy Vencel April 18, 2016 at 11:21 am

        If I had a cape, I would want it to be an elven cape! ♥

  • Reply Tasmanian April 18, 2016 at 1:23 am

    Thanks for sharing so personally. Blogland can often fool us into thinking that we are the only Non-Supermum. When I start entertaining trains of thought like that, I need to ask myself where that comes from… because it isn’t from God. All the best on your journey, and may you know God’s peace through your days.

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