From Lyme Disease to Animal Activist

On October 29, 2015, I got one of the worst calls that I have ever received.  It was from my doctor and he said that my “Lyme disease diagnosis was positive”.  He went on to explain that although I had “acute Lyme”, I would most likely have ongoing symptoms for the rest of my life.

At this period of my life, I was in horrible pain. I had extreme fatigue, severe muscle cramping (imagine teaching fitness classes when you can barely feel your legs!), tingling in my extremities, brain fog, depression and crippling digestive issues.  I would lay in bed every night and cry.  I had no idea why this was happening to me and couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life in this immense pain.  I was incredibly scared, frustrated and felt completely alone.

Luckily, in this day of age there is the Internet.  I was able to find a Lyme community and friends who helped me through the misery and also found solace in those who had recovered.  There was hope!  Fortunately, three years later I am mostly symptom free and am extremely grateful for my recovery.

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So, how did someone with a debilitating illness go from being stuck in bed to becoming an animal activist???

The answer is so simple:  when you have experienced suffering, pain, fear and loneliness, you do not wish that on any other sentient being!  You can watch a graphic video of an animal at a slaughterhouse and completely empathize with them and the feeling of not wanting to lose your life.  I can feel it in my bones and can feel the fire in my heart, trying to come up with strategies to make it stop!  You see, animals know exactly what is going to happen to them.  Most are sick, starving and have been tortured up until their death.  They are scared and cannot make it stop…and they cannot turn to the Internet like I did to get support.

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Today, I am a Lyme warrior and an animal rights activist.  I spend my weekends volunteering for our local chapter of Anonymous for the Voiceless (that I am a proud organizer of).  I spend time at local sanctuaries and try to educate the public daily about the horrors of the animal agriculture industry.

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And today, I am grateful for my Lyme disease diagnosis.  Who knows?  If I hadn’t suffered the way I did, would I still have the desire to fight for the animals?  I will never know but I truly think that everything happens for a reason.  Maybe my reason for Lyme was to find my true passion in life as an animal activist.

 

For more information about my Lyme disease journey, please click here.

How one cow changed the course of my life!

Do you ever get those wonderful memories that show up on Facebook?!  Although they can be kind of irritating sometimes, I love the one that showed up yesterday.  It was the memory of meeting Fatih, the cow that changed the course of my life!

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“How can a cow change your life?!” you may be asking yourself.  Well, before I tell you about Faith, let me give you a quick summary of my life at that moment.  At this point, I had lost my dog about a year prior and had become vegan because of the connection I had made (realizing that all animals felt pain, experienced fear, and wanted to live).  However, I hadn’t yet learned about the dairy industry and would still indulge in a giant pizza a few times a year.  I also knew that I loved animals, but until Faith, I had no idea what it felt like to love a cow!

My mom and I drove about an hour away to a beautiful animal sanctuary in Temecula, California.  The incredible owner, Jen, introduced us to all of the animals and told us a little about each of their stories.  She shared how and where they had been rescued from and also a bit more about the animal agriculture industry.  I was horrified and saddened by each of their stories, but also felt overjoyed when I saw how much they were loved and cared for at Sale Ranch Sanctuary.

After we met the horses, donkeys, goats, pigs and chickens, we came upon a giant cow and her best pig friend, Cherry.  I was so thrilled, and a little intimidated, to meet my first cow.  Jen invited us into the pasture with Fatih and encouraged us to get close to her.  I have to admit that I was hesitant to get near this enormous animal.  But as I did, I immediately felt comfortable and so incredibly happy.  Faith let me scratch her chin and then she kissed my face.  At this moment, I was in love!!!  I realized just then how similar Faith was to my big puppy who was at home.  She was incredibly docile and just wanted to be scratched.  I never wanted to leave the sanctuary and told my mom how badly I wanted my own cow rescue the entire drive home 🙂

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Like I said, the owner of Sale Ranch told us a bit about each of the animal’s stories and about the industry and I was shocked by Faith’s journey.  She was dumped at a sale lot along with her brother because they had “no value” to the industry.  Her brother didn’t survive but Faith was lucky enough to be rescued.  We also learned about the horrors of the dairy industry….

Quick Synopsis of the Dairy Industry:

Dairy cows are artificially inseminated on what the industry refers to as “rape racks.”  They will become pregnant for 9 months, just like a human, and when their baby is born he or she will be ripped away from their moms (they don’t want the baby calf drinking the milk intended for humans…).  The mom will bellow for days!  If the baby is a boy, he will most likely be killed for veal.  If it’s a female, she will have the same fate as her mother.  All dairy cows become “spent” at around 4-5 years and will be killed for beef.  For more information click here

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I had no idea that any of this torture existed and just like many, I thought that having cheese once in awhile was harmless.  The second I learned the truth and met Faith, I made the decision to never “cheat” with dairy again.  From that moment there would never again be any milk, cheese, yogurt, whey, cream cheese, ice cream, etc.  I was 100% vegan and was never looking back.

Faith also changed my life because I realized how badly we need to be fighting for these animals.  These sweet animals are being tortured and killed every day and for what???  At this point, I couldn’t be silent anymore.  I knew that I had to speak up.  I wasn’t quite sure how yet, but I wanted to scream it to the world……..  I suddenly realized my life’s purpose (this part of my life) was to be an animal activist.

My life had been given meaning and it was all because of meeting one magical cow!  I will truly be grateful for her and for this day for as long as I live.

***Have you ever had the opportunity to meet a cow in person?  Please comment below.  I would love to hear your story.