A New Diagnosis: Chronic Lyme Disease

Flowers from my wonderful friend Diane and a few of my Lyme treatment supplements.

Flowers from my wonderful friend Diane and a few of my Lyme treatment supplements.

It’s been a long time since I last wrote on my blog. The past few months have been packed with new symptoms, a new diagnosis, and the craziness of life in general. I’ve just needed some time to reflect on my own. But now I am back. Thank you for reading.

I was diagnosed with Late Stage/Chronic Lyme Disease about a month ago. If you’d like to know more about my illness, check out LymeDisease.org. I am still coming to terms with my newest diagnosis. I think everyone copes with difficult news in their own way. For me, it’s been a mix of feeling numb, crying tears that won’t stop coming, and moments of normalcy, even happiness. Many people have asked me if I feel relief now that I have a diagnosis that explains the symptoms that aren’t related to POTS. To be honest, I haven’t felt much relief. Lyme disease is widely misunderstood, especially once it’s reached the chronic stage. It’s not easily treated and the diagnosis alone comes with a lot of unknowns. It’s not comforting to be told that I still have a long road ahead of me, full of tough days and treatments.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still determined to fight for my health. But this journey will not be straightforward or simple and I hate that. I hate that this is happening. Because even after a year and a half of disabling health issues, this still doesn’t feel normal to me. I don’t think it ever will.

Please believe me when I say that I don’t share my experience to force sympathy or sadness. I do it because I think honesty is important. And I know that it’s much healthier to admit I am struggling than it is to pretend I am fine. Some seasons of life are tough, and I think it’s a very holy thing to acknowledge that. Life still has beauty and purpose on our worst days. As I’ve said before, there is always goodness to be found. That truth doesn’t change when life is hard. In fact, I think it becomes even more important to look for goodness during dark times. It’s there, even if it takes us a while to realize it.

So today I will keep choosing hope over fear. I won’t allow Lyme disease to steal my joy, gratitude, kindness, or love.  I will give myself permission be sad or angry or numb, but I won’t stay that way for too long. I will fight this illness with Netflix marathons, long talks with dear friends, hugs, cat cuddles, and coffee. And I will remain determined to make this world a better place, even if that looks different that I’d expected.

Shining is always costly. Light comes only at the cost of that which produces it. An unlit candle does no shining. Burning must come before shining. We cannot be of great use to others without cost to ourselves. Burning suggests suffering. We shrink from pain.
We are apt to feel that we are doing the greatest good in the world when we are strong, and able for active duty, and when the heart and hands are full of kindly service.
When we are called aside and can only suffer; when we are sick; when we are consumed with pain; when all our activities have been dropped, we feel that we are no longer of use, that we are not doing anything.
But, if we are patient and submissive, it is almost certain that we are a greater blessing to the world in our time of suffering and pain than we were in the days when we thought we were doing the most of our work. We are burning now, and shining because we are burning.
-Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman