Please help Sumer J. Eberhart heal from Lyme disease by donating to this fund for past and future medical expenses.
After a year of multiple emergency room visits, debilitating and mysterious symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and neurological distress that made caring for her two children extremely challenging and returning to work impossible, Sumer has finally been diagnosed with Lyme disease.
The diagnosis was a relief to her family only in that they now know what has been wreaking havoc on Sumer's health for the past year. The relief has been short-lived, however, as symptoms continue, medical bills have piled up, and the near future will be dominated by expensive treatments to heal from this devastating disease. The dream to buy a home for their family and start a medicinal herb farm to serve the community and protect over-harvested wild plants has been put on hold indefinitely due to the huge financial burden.
Tree top couples therapy, Arborist-style.
Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that can manifest in a variety of ways and is often misdiagnosed- especially in areas like western Washington where the disease is (wrongly) believed not to exist. Only after extensive self-driven research did Sumer and her husband Jesse understand which tests Sumer should advocate for herself; tests that finally gave them a clear diagnosis of Lyme disease. They are now in contact with one of Seattle's Lyme disease specialists who will guide Sumer's treatment.(See below for a much more detailed sharing of Sumer’s journey)
Don't Kill the Messenger
Sumer comes from Sonoran Mexican indigenous and European ancestry, and has lived and cultivated a life of personal daily practice that places lineage healing, ceremony, and ancestral reverence as fundamentals for how she carries herself as an individual, as a devoted mother, a partner, and friend. This manifests strongly in her artwork, her storytelling, her community building through shared meals (“Shared food always tastes better,” she often tells her son), and her commitment to growing and sharing medicinal herbs as an act of care and duty. These are qualities she applies both in her approach to parenting and in her work as a mentor for young people at a local art and nature based educational program where critical thinking, healthy social discourse, stewardship, mindfulness, and wonder are at its heart.
Sumer in the Kitchen
Being the person in need is a new and unfamiliar chapter in Sumer’s life. Sumer often is the one that brings comfort to others through food, story, laughter, and herbal medicine, knowing that such support from community reaches well beyond simple sustenance or medicine. I know that she and her family will be humbled and beyond grateful to be on the receiving end of the magic of reciprocity from within their community and beyond with your love, support, and financial assistance. Let's help Sumer and her family pay for the past and future medical expenses so that she can heal and once again fully express herself as a vibrant artist, mother, mentor, herbalist, activist, and multi-faceted community builder.
Gathering and Tending in the Garden Here’s a more in depth look into Sumer’s journey in her own words:
It appears that I was symptomatic not long after the birth of our youngest (Oct.3rd, 2017), and had confused a great deal of my emotional struggles (evening panic attacks, deep emotional distress in waves) with postpartum hormonal issues. The following summer I experienced an extreme gallbladder-region-based pain that sent me to the ER with no conclusive results. A few weeks later while taking a ferry to Port Townsend solo with both my children I experienced a sudden onslaught of disorientation, fatigue, and panic. I have always had low blood pressure but through the following October I started having random dizzy spells that weren't brought on by sudden adjustments from sitting to standing position or low salt or water intake.
By the beginning of the following November all of the "random" occurrences came on like a landslide and didn't let up. My symptoms were severe anxiety/panic, severe disorientation that left me feeling like I was on a boat rocking continuously every day for a solid seven months, digestive issues, gallbladder pain that corresponded with my monthly cycles, worsened endometriosis issues, random heart palpitations , brain fog, and extreme fatigue.
Another ER trip ensued where I was informed that I "look great on paper."
This put me on a nine-month journey of expensive experiments and testing. Therapists, MRI's, CT scans, Ear, Nose and Throat specialists conducting incredibly exhausting and nauseating tests, transitioning through three different doctors, hormone panel tests, HIDA test for my gallbladder, six months of acupuncture and herbal formulation, hormone therapy, Cranial Therapy, and more. Then a third ER trip for a ruptured ovarian cyst. Most recently, there has been joint pain and short-term memory loss.
ER trip #2
I did a test for Lyme disease well into the journey, but it turned out negative. If it hadn't been for Jesse consulting a long distance fellow arborist who has navigated Lyme disease for a few decades we wouldn't have known the right type of testing to get, which we finally got at the staggering cost of $1,500 out of pocket.
I tested positive for Lyme. Luckily, this finally gave us the clear prognosis so we could begin treatment.
The relief in the diagnosis was brief as we realized that there is no linear protocol for treating Lyme, and it doesn't show up for any one individual the same as it does for another, and that each individuals personal genetics and biology play a huge part in understanding how to best strategize. There is no standard treatment or cure. After consulting with various people with Lyme, what it is revealing to us is it an artful and experimental strategizing consisting of allopathic (western) medicine, Eastern medicine and treatment, naturopathic medicine, experimental treatments (Rife machine, hyperbaric chamber treatment, ionic foot bathing, Ozone therapy etc), I-V immune support, mental health support therapy, chiropractic, and sauna.
The majority of this is not covered by insurance. See You in My Dreams
by Sumer (partial image of artwork)
It will require much more testing to narrow down the various co-infections introduced by Lyme, how my genes are being impacted and modified by the infection itself, as well as my hormone response. I am presently on over 20 expensive daily intake supplements, seeing a doctor, a therapist, a chiropractor, and an acupuncturist weekly or bi-weekly, and using saunas with one-use passes. We are averaging $3,000 a month in medical costs for a household of four with only one able-bodied working adult. It is a huge physical strain on my partner Jesse and an immense emotional strain on our entire family.
Celina and Jesse
It feels at times achingly painful to have the first years of my baby’s life suspended in a dreamlike blur based on my physical, mental, and emotional state, let alone not feel strong and clear-minded enough to parent my 11-year-old son in his epic launch into his teens and navigate the challenge of being intimately present with my partner of 14 years. I have endured complete trepidation and emotional distress but am unwilling to submit nor accept this state as my new normal.
I am fully committed to my recovery on all levels. Reeds to Weave from Wetland
by SumerBear Mama