Five Month Rat Lungworm Recovery Update – How’d We do it so Fast?

Yesterday was the 5th month anniversary since I’ve been released to my own “devices” from the Phoenix VA Hospital Rat - lungworm Hurricane Ritaafter battling rat lungworm for 6 weeks inside and 3 weeks before being admitted.

Since the day I defied death to walk out of the hospital next to my lover on my walker, with my wheelchair still sitting in my hospital room in a state of shock of how “easily” it was discarded.

It must have thought we’d be together forever.

It was wrong.

Some of you have been watching and supporting my recovery from the beginning.

For that I thank you.

Some of you just tuned in.

I thank you, too.

I’ve been hearing one word over and over from doctors, other patients, other survivors, and other observers.


It’s simply a miracle I’m alive.

More so that I….well, read on…

In the last five months I’ve grown from barely able to stand for a quarter-hour to teaching two separate hours of Zumba while gardening and slacklining in between sessions.

(I’m going to do that today!!!!)

I’ve gone from needing my walker to go to the local movie theater/cafe (normally easy walking distance), to running over 3 miles.

(For more than that, give it time)…

I’ve gone from being unable to walk barefoot in the grass to enjoy the feeling of cool earth on my feet to being able to enjoy the sensations of warm earth against my skin….

(less my achievement, and more to the credit of approaching warm spring)

I’ve gone from barely being able to put on my socks to being more flexible than I was before I got the parasite.

So, how did WE do it?


How did WE do it so quickly?

(If you’ve been following the recovery, you realize I certainly didn’t do this on my own).

Sure, there’s the easy response of simple grit, determination, a drive never to quit, and a love of movement after learning through marathons and 50 milers how to deal with pain.



There’s more.


You can have all of the above, but I don’t think that within 5 months you go from 15 minutes of barely standing to running and jumping just based on grit and determination.

No freakin’ way.

So, how did we do it?

YOGA,ย JUICING organic, NON-GMO produce, EATING organic, NON-GMO foods, continuing to remain GLUTEN-FREE, while including MEDITATION, and a POSITIVE ATTITUDE.

Before I got sick, I didn’t stretch unless I had to. I thought it was a waste of time.

Why stop and stretch when the time could be better spent sweating and pushing your body?

That has changed.

One of my goals to reach before leaving the hospital was being able to put my own socks on my own feet by myself.

Lofty, huh.

Some people go to the gym and do reps on the bench, squats, etc.

I grunted and whimpered more in my 10 reps of practicing putting on socks before going to breakfast (it took almost a half hour to complete) than I’ve EVER done while working out.

John saw where I was at, how hard it was to do normal things, and in his incredibly convincing and inspiring way, encouraged me to do yoga.

I was given several yoga cds for my Christmas/birthday celebration from my amazing sis, Rosa, as well as from my incredible mentor and friend, Sue Arnold.

Thank you.

Maybe you two already knew it, but your incredible gifts were more than just cds. They literally were the catalysts that gave me my life back.

Thank you.

For 5 months, John made an effort to do most every session by my side.

We started with chair yoga. Stretching as far as we could and not pushing it.

We’d do Rodney Yee’s beginner pose guide over and over and over and over until I could just about repeat him and Colleen as they explained what to move, what to flex, where to feel, etc.

Have more observation and less…determination.

Sometimes on our more ambitious days, we’d add it after a session of Rodney Yee’s Beginner Yoga to make sure everything was in tune.

My cross-legged seated position at that time was barely touching my ankles together over a foot away from my tail bone while my knees threatened to hit me in the face.

It wasn’t pretty.

I fell almost daily.

Most times more than once.

I’ve fallen in the gym.

I’ve fallen in the middle of Zumba.

I lost my balance often (I still don’t claim to have good balance yet).

When I’d fail at warrior I or warrior II or every warrior pose up to warrior 17 (I joke… but only a little), I’d hear a sweet deep rumbling yet encouraging voice.

“You’re doing great, lover. Keep going. You got it.”

When Rodney or Colleen would tell us to cross our legs underneath us and roll to the other side, John would literally pause the DVD, sometimes for quite a while, as I struggled to catch up.




I never got to skip moves I couldn’t do. I just did them as well as I could, as slowly and methodically as necessary to get the form correct, and got better SLOWLY over time.

Sometimes the DVD had to be stopped multiple times for me to get into positions I refused to skip.

We’ve gotten to the point here we do yoga together twice a day most days.

Sometimes we are in pjs, sometimes workout clothes, sometimes underware, sometimes the clothes we wear could get John - Binger Juicerus laughed out of a super expensive socialite riddled studio. It never matters.

On top of yoga, John is a juicing machine.

Well, not literally. ๐Ÿ˜€

What I mean is he has an amazing imagination for great tasting juicing recipes.

Every week we go to Root’s Market to stock up on Non-GMO Organic produce and fruit from our friend, Randall.

Every week, we restock juicing materials.

I get infused with combinations of kale, golden or red beet, chard, spinach, coconut, mangoes, blueberries, pineapple, apple, orange, tangerine, ginger, pear, and whatever else we can find that’s organic, safe, and local.

(Pineapples, coconuts, and bananas are not local…but still….)

Then, after he juices, I take the pulp (since we use a centrifugal juicer gifted to us by yet another AMAZING friend and supporter, Fern) and bake it into gluten free breads and muffins.

We rarely have meat, although we haven’t actually consciously taken it out of our diets. We have cases upon cases of smoked WILD Alaskan salmon that we caught, gutted, froze, brined, smoked, canned, and shipped to Pennsylvania ourselves.

(John taught me how to properly fillet and walked me through the entire process being the burly Alaskan man he is).

Alaska - Pink Salmon

However, there is not much red meat in our diets.

(We’ve learned my system doesn’t necessarily get stoked about a big hunk of hormone injected steak in my guts….my colon is like…..What the f*ck, over!)



Now that our garden is getting going, it looks like we’ll have plenty of our own home grown spinach, kale, chard,ย lettuce, tomatoes, eggplants, onions, ground cherries, zucchinis, and arugula (to name a few) to juice.

Lastly, there’s noni. I wrote about it in Hurricane Hope – Pain Management, six days ago. This is my fourth day eating organic noni fruit leather twice a day. It has anti – inflammatory properties, and has solved the problem of intense burning skin pain for other’s with rat lungworm.

Today is day 4 that I’ve been taking it.

Maybe it’s my imagination. Maybe it’s just my clueless positivity.

But I think it’s working.

My legs aren’t jumping (as much) when I relax in the evenings, and I seem to hobble just a hint less in the mornings.

I’m going to say that is a VICTORY!

Tomorrow’s not guaranteed, people!

Take advantage of what you DO have.

Trust me, I need to remind myself daily. It’s about what you CAN do in the MOMENT, not what you USED to be able to do.

Do what YOU can do about YOUR condition.

Stay tuned for our juicing and gluten free recipe/recovery page!










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6 Responses to Five Month Rat Lungworm Recovery Update – How’d We do it so Fast?

  1. Clau May 20, 2013 at 5:51 PM #

    You are my inspiration. I wish you nothing but more wellness for your continuing victories ahead.

    • Hurricane Rita May 21, 2013 at 3:38 PM #

      Clau, you’re too sweet! Thank you so much! I just want to run. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Clau May 25, 2013 at 9:09 AM #

        Maybe one day we’ll run together. Completely healed. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Hurricane Rita May 28, 2013 at 11:41 PM #

          Absolutely!!! Let’s do it! ๐Ÿ˜€ Well…not tomorrow or anything. One day. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Jennifer May 20, 2013 at 10:01 PM #

    Rita, you and John (who is my cousin, by the way) are such an inspiration! It reassures my heart to know that a person like John is even remotely related to me, and that he has turned out to be such an awesome and supportive partner to a person as dynamic as you. You are both in my thoughts as you both go through this healing process together. I’ve been following you for a couple of months now, but have always hesitated to intrude (we’re not the closest of families, after all). The more I read though, the more inspired I become. Thank you for opening your world up to all of us!

    • Hurricane Rita May 21, 2013 at 3:43 PM #

      Jennifer, I’m happy you’ve “intruded…” as if it could ever be called such a thing! Our world is open and welcoming. Say what you want to say, when you want to say it… and say what you truly mean! ๐Ÿ˜€

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