UPDATE NOVEMBER 18th 2018: HEALED
To everyone who contributed to my treatment: THANK YOU. It worked.
NOW, LETS SPREAD THE WORD.
We are now raising money for what will be an EPIC adventure across the United States in January 2019- where I drive cross-country with a crew of 5 amazing people, exploring America as we set out to learn how people perceive health and sickness- from Lyme disease to MS to addiction to depression to the common cold...and everything in between.
My story starts with contracting Lyme and several co-infections (God knows when) and continues with a lifetime of confusion, sickness and pain intertwined with great joy, knowledge, love and luck. I am a fortunate human being to have been given all of my struggles amidst my blessings and I am setting out to help others who are in need of inspiration, resources and a team to say: YOU CAN DO IT.
A massive portion of my life has been possible because other people have been willing to help me along the way, supporting my hopes and dreams, sometimes literally clothing, housing and feeding me. And the rest of my life has been possible because I was born with an unbreakable spirit and a drive to understand the truth beneath what ails human kind.
We are raising $30, 000 in order to take my personal story and experiences on the road, setting out to learn how others are coping with Lyme disease and various other illness that are often difficult to diagnose, expensive to treat and many times deemed "incurable." It's time we start looking at health and healing from a different perspective and actually DO something about it.
Offering myself up as a guinea pig of sorts, I will be seated next to a life coach/healer for the duration of our journey who will help me piece my life back together (so much to heal from AFTER the illness itself is gone) and hold me accountable on a daily basis to show up and re-build an aligned life.
Over the course of the journey, we will meet and interview people across the country- those still ill and healing, those who have overcome, those who just don't get sick and those who devote their life to treatment and research. As I document my own personal road to recovery through diet, exercise, meditation, journaling, creativity, passion and human connection, I will boldly share my experiences with our global audience in LIVE time via YOUTUBE, Instagram and Facebook.
Once we reach LA, the rehabilitated me will be able to have a second chance at the life I left behind along with the opportunity to give back and help others with an amazing surprise event at the end of our journey.
We , the LymeLight Journey Team, are so excited to get in the car and set out on our mission of health, healing, how-to and hilarity. And with your help, we can start our necessary pre-production work right away.
Thank you for being adventurous. Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for your kindness.
You will help to change many lives.
Pedal to the metal,
Brooke Procida and the LLJ Team
Rob Campbell- Producer
Gibson Frazier- Director
Niko Plaitakis - Director of Photography
Hannah Phillips- Social Media Guru
TBA- Healer/Life Coach
ORIGINAL POST AND BROOKE'S FULL STORY BELOW
GUESS WHAT!!!!! You know how all these years it's been kind of confusing to keep up with me and I've always have some kind of weird ailment or symptom and sometimes Im a productive wonderland and sometimes Im collapsed on my couch crying for weeks?????
ITS BEEN LYME DISEASE this whole time.
And guess what? You know how everyone in America seems to have it and its said to be INCURABLE??????
And GUESS WHAT!!! Did you know I have been all over the world and seen hundreds of doctors and specialists and went legit bankrupt and quit my career in my 20's and spent a lifetime researching health and healing and have more information and experience than anyone could possibly imagine? Well I do.
I once walked backwards into the ocean in Hawaii with a sprig of licorice bark in my mouth, chanting a prayer with my eyes closed, because a shaman I met in the mountains told me to. And because I have always lived outside of the box or been partially off my rocker (or both :) I have committed to a cutting edge medical protocol, based in quantum science and physics, that will eradicate the pathogens (and all subsequent co infections and viruses) from my body completely and help me to rebuild my immune system and my life from the ground up.
Yes. This is real. And insurance does not cover it. (duh) And people do not know about it. And there is endless suffering going on and needless fear, angst and worry over Lyme and so many other chronic, "untreatable" illnesses that slowly chip away at your quality of life. Well I've had enough.
There is ALOT that goes into healing anything chronic. Our lifestyles, our choices, the company we keep. Our emotional state, our subconscious, our ability to let go. And the functionality of our immune systems, our physical bodies from tissues to organs to blood and the environment we live in.
I have felt like some part of a mysterious experiment for most of my life, constantly being challenged with seriously weird sh*t that doesn't respond to normal protocol and persists despite all efforts and finally, I will be able to share my story from a positive, hilarious and hopeful point of view as I continue this treatment and see it through to the end. (UPDATE: IM DONE! And Healed)
IT'S SO EXPENSIVE and NOT COVERED.
By contributing to this Go Fund Me campaign, you are putting your faith in me to document my experiences and share them in a way that is positive, real, blatantly honest, flipping funny and truly forward thinking in a way that can no longer be dismissed because things need to change.
Today, April 13th 2018, I have been through 7 detox treatments and have one left on Monday before they determine if I am ready to start antimicrobial treatments or not. To read more about my amazing doctor, his staff and their approach to healing, please go here: www.nycim.com
And to read my full story and understand more about Lyme and how it manifests, see below.
LYMELIGHT JOURNEY- Shedding light on chronic illness and the lives we leave behind to find out who we really are.
BROOKE'S FULL STORY BELOW
I AM IN THE PROCESS OF FULLY HEALING LYME DISEASE:
YES, FULLY ERADICATING A PERCEIVED "INCURABLE" DISEASE.
And I'm going to make sure every darn person who has it gets helped, every doctor who is baffled by it learns to detect and treat it and that we as a nation start to look at incorporating and covering integrative therapies in this country, especially in cases where conventional medicine falls painfully and blatantly short.
Lyme disease, particularly long-term, undiagnosed, chronic, life-altering Lyme disease has become more popular than Instagram and is still not only mostly misunderstood, but actually a total mystery to most. Especially to the people trying to diagnose you and those trying to live with you.
You tell someone you have Lyme and they immediately say, "Oh...my brother...my neighbor...my niece....my college roommate has that.....". Everyone knows someone who has it. The second thing they say is "You get that from a tick, right?"No one is lucky to get infected with Lyme or any of its vicious, parasitic co-infections, but some are fortunate enough to find the tick or see the classic, red-bullseye it sometimes leaves so that they can seek medical treatment immediately. Some people can become infected, never know and never have an issue their whole lives. Strong immune system, body chemistry...lots of variables. And some people get infected and have no idea until strange symptoms begin showing up over time. This was the case with me.
I could make a very long montage for you showing clips of moments in time in my life where I felt "the feeling". The only way to describe it to someone who hasn't had this type of infection is to liken it to an on-going, vicious hangover or the flu. But symptoms can worsen, multiply and morph over time and that is where the medical system is fighting to keep up and people who watch their friends and loved ones go through this are left totally confused and feeling helpless.
The first time I remember feeling 'the feeling'....a sort of weird, achey, sweaty feeling that I very much could not describe back then, I was 7. My family was out to dinner at Pumpernickel's in Northport and my brothers were ordering Cokes. (it was the 80's when we had 3 sodas a day) The waitress came to me and asked what she could get me and I remember looking at her and then looking at my Mom and saying "I don't want anything" I felt really weird about it because one, I was a kid who could pack away an adult sized burger and an entire plate of fries and still have room for ice-cream. And two, because I was being somehow forced out of the family dinner ritual which upset me more than feeling yucky. I was the middle child, only girl and was always fighting to be a part of what my brothers were conjuring up or laughing about. I didn't like the feeling of being separate, "off" or left out. Little did I know then how much of the rest of my life would be spent learning to understand, deal with and actually make peace with and take full advantage of that feeling. (FOMO anyone?)
I touch on a few points in the paragraphs above because when my energy is fully back and I finally make this documentary, there are a few areas that I feel really need exploring when it comes to healing/understanding chronic illness of any sort and those are: inherent immune system function, diet and lifestyle and emotional life.
When I was 3, I had the worst case of chicken pox doctors had ever seen and my left knee swelled up with blood, looking like a purple cantaloupe on my tiny little leg. I had a virus, it was bad, my body fought it off, I healed. Done. But the swollen knee mysteriously returned on it's own when I was 7 and no one, not even the freaky specialist in the ivy-covered mansion in a Boston suburb could figure it out. My parents took me everywhere and did every test and read everything they could to figure out why this was happening. I never got a definitive answer but throughout my life, as it recurred over and over again, some of the tings I was tested for and or diagnosed with as other symptoms evolved are: Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes, Thyroid Disorder, Lupus (they actually told me I had that one. I ignored them. Thank God for my obstinate 20's) Candida, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Epstein Barr Virus, Ecoli, Depression....and the list goes on. Candida, CFS, EBV...all of those were real and present and I dealt with them, only to have them return time and again, as they were never truly eradicated and were not, in fact, the underlying issue.
Finally in my 30's, living in London, I had been free of the knee swelling for many years but sick, sick, sick as a dog and it was getting worse. My 20's were also a horror show of up and down, inexplicable, collapse-to-the- ground illnesses. Nearly blacking out in subways, sweating in bed for 3 weeks at a time, belting out notes on stage and coming off to grab my crutches and whatever stagehand was close by so I didn't collapse. Missing weddings, birthdays, milestone events. And moreover, missing simple day-to-day conversations with people because I was so complete;y removed from reality due to brain fog and what I now understand was very slow, very sneaky, neurological decline.
When both my knees swelled and I couldn't get out of bed, my fiancé at the time put me on a plane and took me to Tenerife to dry out in the sun and rest. The damp, cold misery of London was wearing us both down and I couldn't go an entire month without getting ill. It was on the beach in Tenerife that a physical therapist looked at my knees, dipped my feet in water and had me step on a piece of paper see what my footprint revealed about my alignment. He told me the swelling was a virus trapped in my knees and that if I fixed my alignment, Id be better in 2 days. So he sent me to the Pharmacia to get inserts ($1) and then cut them for me and put them in my shoes. He charged me the equivalent of $20 and told me good luck.
I hobbled back down the cobblestone street with my fiancé to our hotel. The next day, we hit this amazing water park that I was so beyond excited to go to and again, the feeling of missing out and letting someone down was far worse that the actual physical feeling I had in my body. I was huddled in a ball, under a towel on a chaise lounge in the shade, sweating and crying. I watched my fiancé partner up with some 12 year old kid to go down the crazy slide you needed a partner for and I just remember wanting to scream so loud I would freeze all the water and freeze all of time and be alone until I could figure this out and change it. (Yes, Elsa's struggle is real)
*** TMI Alert......A day later, when back in London, I was in the bathroom for hours feeling like I was going to die, gripping onto the towel rack and not able to leave for even a minute. My body felt like it was emptying out every single thing I had ever ingested in my life and I was shaking and sweating, naked because my clothes were drenched and crumpled in an angry ball. An hour later, I woke up exhausted on the floor and my knees were both completely deflated.
In my late 30's, I moved back to America, settled in New York City, got married and continued to run my business teaching children and parents how to navigate the entertainment industry healthily and sustainably. I found an integrative doctor in New York whom I trusted to help me get my health back in a slower, more even-keeled way. I was still up and down all the time and wasn't getting pregnant and my relationship was so hard to manage. I kept falling incredibly ill and then it would vanish and I'd be fine. People would always say "Well, you look great." and I'm like, "Yea, awesome, I FEEL LIKE TOTAL COMPLETE FU**ING SH*T!!!!!!!!" But no one could grasp it because a lot of the time I was not only fine, I was on fire. Productive, creative, useful, hilarious (;-) communicative, available, successful. And then, on a dime...GONE. Into my bed with, again, with what is impossible to describe. I took to saying it felt like someone had injected me with poison and threw me in hole and was slowly filling it up with dirt.
In 2016, my husband decided he didn't want to be married anymore and left. There were about 400 sentences I could have just written right here but let's just say people do what they need to do and that's their business. Apparently, even when you're married. So, without going into detail and emotional blah, blah...I went into shock and my body went into survival/overdrive mode. I then proceeded to have what I classify as one of the' best' summer's of my life because I was in full denial and boy was it fun!!!! I was skinny and tan and had endless amounts of (fake) energy. I was working a lot and surrounded by artists and I was meeting men and making friends and doing all sorts of things I never did when I was "sick". I was drinking tequila and not getting hangovers, I wrote 2 musicals and produced them off Broadway. And then one day in my apartment, teaching a private voice lesson, I saw one of those horrible "RIP" messages pop up on Facebook. One of my absolute favorite teachers of all time and dear, dear, dear friend, had died. Suddenly.
I flew out to LA to be with my friends and to say my goodbyes, still alert and alive and working out and appearing super normal. (all the while feeling EVERY time I ate ANYTHING, something was wrong. DENIAL) When I finally got home to New York I had had 2 cross-country flights, jet lag, late nights with obscure food and drink and major heartbreak. I opened my eyes in my gigantic King sized bed one day and couldn't move.
The integrative doctor I mentioned before was aware and educated enough to have tested me for Lyme disease and all of its co-infections. This was in 2015, only 3 years ago, and even at that time so few people even knew what it really was let alone how to detect or treat it. It was known as a tick borne illness that is incurable and debilitating. He suggested putting me on a long course of antibiotics to kill it and any of it's jackass little babies it might lay. I emphatically and immediately declined. If antibiotics could kill what was going on in my body, they would have done it the 346 other times I was on them for extended, nonsensical, un-fruitful amounts of time- only to be left with a stripped-to-the-walls gut terrain and an obliterated immune system. Enter: subsequent viruses, digestive issues, hormonal imbalance, mood swings, depression, anger, fatigue, chronic debilitating fatigue, loss of work, lack of money, fear.....and you see the 'incurable' cycle.
I have never believed in the word incurable. Or impossible or anything else that told me I couldn't do something. Part of this rogue tenacity and hope has been what has kept me alive and functional for so long but it also has brought me to my knees many, many times, forcing me to realize that I do not and cannot control everything in my life. Particularly other people and their decisions or what nature has in store for us. But what I have learned is that when I work in tandem with nature and a higher power, whatever name you want to give it, mountains are moved and balance is restored.
To me, illness and disease are just imbalance and we have learned to label certain imbalances so that we can identify them and manage them, even wallow in them and connect through them. Since I have been "sick" I have read 60 billion books by a million different authors, healers, spiritualists, doctors, thinkers, philosophers, straight up weirdos, scholars.....you name it. All in the name of learning and healing. And one piece of advice I have come across often has been "Don't talk about it. What you focus on grows. Just focus on the positive in your life and all of your perceived problems and pain will vanish. Because they are really not there to begin with." I get this. I get this theory and I think its awesome and beautiful and often true but you want to know something? It's extremely incomplete. It, theoretically, would work in a world where everyone wakes up and meditates, eats whole, healthy foods from the ground or a tree, lives in a community where people help one another and focus more on the inside lives they create rather than the outside and where the connection to all things energetic and vibrational are the guiding forces and nothing happens without their influence, leaving none of us alone or left out as we are all interconnected to the point of being ONE. But look around you. Look at the matrix of chaos we have, however intentionally or unintentionally, created around us and now have to exist in. Its like one of my many teachers in my life once said at a fancy yoga retreat I ended up dropping out of because I was "sick"- "If you want to be a basket weaver, don't keep a monkey as a pet."
There is no ONE answer, no ONE cure, no ONE method, no ONE book, no ONE diet....EVER. There is no one way to do anything and the second someone claims they know THE way, their theories are debunked.
Maybe I am here to talk and share. Maybe my healing will come from expressing myself and finding out all of these little hidden things about my personality and my silent, fractured pieces by being honest and open. By connecting. Maybe Im a narcissistic diva who needs to be paid attention to in order to have anything feel right and maybe I am actually Jesus come back to save the world. Is anyone REALLY going to tell you why you are here and what your purpose is and why you feel things? GOD NO. NO ONE KNOWS WHATS GOING ON!!!!!! FOR REALS.
So as far as I can see, for me, I am here to love and be loved. I often have a problem with the second. Maybe it goes back to the dinner table at Pumpernickel's where I understood and categorized the idea of feeling separate. Maybe I decided I didn't want to experience that so I further chose to just separate myself in order to remain in control. Or maybe, there is no rhyme or reason to anything and pondering those sorts of spiritual/emotional theories or questions is a total waste of time. I'd be lying if I said I didn't sometimes wish I were a heartless asshole who ate food made of chemicals and owned a sweatshop in a 3rd world country I was getting richer off of by the day. Ok, well maybe not that far. But sometimes I see a happy go-lucky chick sitting on the train, eating a Chocolate bar, drinking some brightly labeled, high-fructose drink and reading a horrible novel and I think....oh my God, she might out live me because she's oblivious.
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