He is Always There

An original song written in 2012 by LymeDiseaseWarrior

He is Always There

When everything is stripped away
And you feel as though no one is left
God is still there.

In your moments of desperation
In all your agony and fear
Out-springs your sweetest hours of prayer.

When you’ve gone as far as you can go
And you collapse onto the ground,
You gain the opportunity
To be carried in His arms.

When your pursuits fail
When you use up your resources,
Then joy will abound as God
Reaches down to pour out
From His abundant riches.

When the path ahead is cloudy
And you can no longer see to guide yourself
Profound comfort is yours
As you follow His rod and His light

When faced with a choice
That determines your course,
You never have to worry.
God is beside,
With your interest in mind,
He will open the doors
And close them.

He really does love you,
It may be hard to comprehend.

You may be one among a thousand,
And yet—
He knows your name.
He knows your every day.
He planned your life.
He chose you.

Not for anything you had to give—
You had nothing.

Not for anything you did or would do—
You can do nothing.

Not for any reason we would choose someone—
He simply chose you.

And He died for you.

And He longs for you.

And He loves you.

 

 

College with a Chronic Illness Part II: Preparing to Go

college chronic ilness.jpg

A while back I started a series of posts about surviving college while dealing with a chronic illness.  It’s time to pick that series up again, with tips on how to survive and succeed at a college despite having a chronic illness.  It’s time to set up some strategies ahead of time in order to better prepare you to not only survive, but thrive at college!

1. Know Your Enemy

If you’ve been a good sicky, then you’ve already studied the illness you have.  But before you head off to college, it’s important that you study up on your own specific condition.  Know the various triggers that cause flare ups, know how you react to stress.  If you’re aware of how your body reacts to things, then you won’t panic when your body aches more during finals, and you can be more prepared to combat it.

2. Think Ahead

Decide ahead of time how much you want to share and when, how you might approach the subject of your illness, how you might deal with questions about it that might come up.  In most situations you’ll be able to play it by ear, but having some basic guidelines for yourself can help prevent over-sharing and under-sharing.  You don’t want to clam up and alienate yourself, because you might hit a wall and need help later on. But you might not want to be pitied by everyone on campus.

3. Study the School

Study the school before you get to it.  Learn about their special foods program (if any) and about the accommodations available for any disabilities you might have.  Learn the typical weather you’ll face, the temperatures you’ll endure, the terrain of the campus, etc.  The more you know about the campus, the better prepared you’ll be to overcome any obstacles!

4. Put Your Ear to the Rail

Talk with the students there and learn about the professors, the classes, and the majors.  Learn which classes to take, and which to skip.  Find out which professors are tough, easy, generous, understanding, difficult, etc.  Learn the campus secrets, for example: lunch sacks from the cafeteria!  Saved my life.

5. Bring Your Wheels

Don’t do a traditional backpack.  It will kill your knees, your back, and your neck. It will sap your energy and you simply won’t have any to spare.  So go out and buy a rolling backpack.  It will save you in ways you can’t imagine.  Make sure it’s waterproof if the college you chose is in a rainy location.

6. Start Networking

Most schools have a student website or Facebook page where you can already start to connect with people before you even hit the campus.  Talk to your family and friends. Do you have relatives in that area?  Old family friends?  Perhaps they can be an open home for you to take a break from campus.  A network will be a lifeline if you start to struggle.  Friends can step in to offer rides to the store, a relative Ca provide a home cooked meal, etc.

7. Get to know the Nurse

Introduce yourself to the nurse, health center, or first aid center. Let them know what you will need or may need in an emergency situation.  They will be thankful for the heads up on your needs and can be a great guide for what resources are available to you on campus and in the immediate area.

8. Buy Your Books in advance

Buy your books in advance and start reading them.  An illness can cause one to fall behind very quickly so avoid that by getting a jump start where you can.  Download your syllabi ahead of time to find the reading requirements.  You can even get started on projects ahead of time.

9. Contact your professors

Email your professors ahead of time to introduce yourself.  Let them know if you have limitations such as a learning disability, or if your treatments will require you to miss several classes, etc.  Your professor should be kind enough to work with you on making a plan to help you succeed.  If he is cold and unbending, you’ll still have time to switch classes.  If you do need something special, like a moment away to step away and take your meds or extra time on tests, but you don’t communicate it ahead of time, your professor may assume that you are skipping class or not studying hard enough.

Many schools will have a disability office that can help determine what accommodations would be best suited for your needs.   Look into it.

10. Pack Well

Don’t show up with just the clothes on your back.  Bring layers of clothing, food, a mattress topper, extra pillows, a medicine cabinet, extra of all toiletries, etc.  Anything you can think of that helps you overcome your condition should be on the packing list.

Is there anything you would add to this list of tips?
-LymeDiseaseWarrior
lymelightfight@gmail.com

What I would tell my newly diagnosed self

Congratulations on finally getting a diagnosis!  You’re having a lot of mixed feelings about this, but it’s better to know what you’re fighting than be left in the dark.

The road behind you may have seemed hard, but the road ahead is going to be pretty rough too and it’s a lot longer than you’re thinking it will be.  But hang in there!

Progress will seem so slow at times you may think you’re moving backwards on some days.  But every day you will be moving forward. Keep your head up and don’t lose heart.  Remember you have a lot of people around you who you may not even be aware of all the time.  But they are there, praying for you, silently following your progress.  If at any point you need anything, you can fall back on your support network and be bolstered with encouragement and help.

Here’s some advice:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Do follow all of your doctor’s directions.
  • Don’t fall prey to fake advice.  Do your research well.
  • Don’t give up. You will have bad days, but keep persevering!  Even tiny progress is still progress.  You don’t beat Lyme in one day.
  • Forgive those who disappear. Some people just can’t handle your struggle. Don’t waste precious energy holding a grudge. The best people will stay.
  • Pray, pray, pray. You might not get the miraculous healing you’re hoping for, but   He will calm you and give you the strength you need to get through the moment.

This may not have been a path you  have chosen for yourself, but God has chosen it for you.  Put your trust in His plan and be open to learning and growing through this.

Love,

LymeDiseaseWarrior

lymelightfight@gmail.com

Six Lies We Tell Ourselves When We Suffer

I’ve been noticing a trend.  When we as Christians encounter suffering, be it physical or situational, we comfort ourselves with lies.  And sometimes these lies sound good and truthful, promising us comfort or a reason for our suffering.  But they are just that, lies.  And by telling ourselves these lies we distract from seizing the opportunities that suffering brings.

1. The devil is picking on me

Assuming that our suffering is the result of demonic attack is short-sighted.  On the one hand, it can discount personal responsibility.  Maybe you lost your job because you were slovenly and showed up late every day.  Maybe you were injured from a car accident that resulted from reckless driving.  Before pushing the blame on evil, step back and check the situation for your own fault.

On the other hand, it discounts God’s sovereignty.  God is far above the devil in authority and power.  Remember Job?  The guy in the Old Testament who had everything go wrong for him?  The devil had to ask permission from God before he could inflict damage on Job’s person and property.  Even then, God held sovereignty over how far the devil could hurt and He could have stopped it at any time.  Why didn’t He?  Because it proved Job’s loyalty to Him.  Every time something happened against Job, Job remained loyal to God, refusing to curse Him for the trouble he encountered.  He trusted God’s plan and recognized the Lord’s sovereignty over his own life and situation.  Even under tremendous suffering, Job was loyal to God, and that brought glory to Him.  Maybe our suffering is like that of Job’s.  Instead of throwing up our hands and crying, “The devil is picking on me”, we can instead recognize God’s sovereignty in our own life and welcome the opportunity to prove our loyalty and love for God by continuing to uplift His name and cry out to Him even in the midst of our suffering.

God may just be steering us into the direction He wants us to go.  Sometimes Christians expect to hear the voice of God or have some obvious sign from Him to know where they should go.  But God often works by simply closing some doors and opening others.  Maybe God designed for you to lose one job so He could bring you to a different one.  Maybe God allowed your child to be sick, so you could get involved in patient advocacy, or so you’d be able to empathize with other parents of sick children who don’t have the hope in God that you have.  Maybe God is just steering, maybe He’s training, maybe His only purpose is your spiritual growth.  Whatever His purpose is, you can be assured that God has a purpose and you’re not just suffering from the whims of the devil.

2. God must have something great planned for me!

 Where in the Bible does God promise that suffering is a sign of a grand destiny? Of all the promises God laid out in the Bible, I don’t recall one stating “because you have been unemployed for a long time, I will make you a CEO.”  I can’t tell you how many times I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed and come across multiple statuses declaring with all cheeriness, “Gee, life sure is rough right now.  But that’s okay!  God must be planning on something great for me!”  As if the presence of suffering, or more oftentimes mere inconvenience, guarantees one a bright and glorious destiny, or extra pleasurable blessings on earth.

And what does this say of Christians in third world countries?  What of a devout follower of God who was born blind in a remote village?  Does he think, “Gee, since I was born blind, God must be planning something great for me!”  Does he sit out in a field waiting for a helicopter to drop in and take him to a bustling city where he can lead an entire missionary society?  No!  Why would he expect that?

Why is it that when we encounter suffering we decide that it somehow marks us as being better than other Christians?  Thousands of Christians the world over have suffered tremendously more than we have.  A martyr is great because he is a martyr, one who suffered for his faith and ultimately gave his life for it.  A persecuted christian is great because of the sufferings he endures, and not because he may someday become a world-famous preacher.

Suffering is a part of this life.  It came in with the fall after sin entered this world.  Although it is far from meaningless, suffering does not function as a sign for a great destiny.  Instead, suffering such as illness, job loss, or grief are designed by God to bring Him glory.  The trouble with expecting suffering to be an intermediary between us and our blessing is that we view suffering as a temporary trial after which we receive a grand reward.  What if the suffering is our blessing?  What if we should say alongside Paul, “therefore I will the more gladly boast in my infirmities, for when I am weak, then I am strong”.  Not only does suffering bring benefits of spiritual growth with it, but it provides us with an opportunity to glorify God.  Shall we discount the opportunity God has given us to be a light for Him and instead look ahead for the imagined self-glory that is sure to come?

Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians of one of his experiences of suffering.  He describes what they faced and revealed God’s purpose in it.

2 Corinthians 1:8-11 [NIV]

8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,[a] about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

When faced with suffering, let us view it as Paul did, as a blessing in disguise, as an opportunity to glorify God and reap the spiritual benefits that suffering brings.  And should our storm pass, let us not eagerly look about for a prize, but instead recognize that the opportunity to suffer for God’s glory was our prize.

I  fought Lyme disease for eight years.  I have finally been set free from this diseade–and I’m super excited about it.  But I’m not expecting that just because I dealt with agonizing symptoms at a young age, I’m going to become the next big name in Christendom.  I don’t expect to be a CEO or to lead in a prominent political office.  And if I do get a good job or become famous, I won’t think it’s because I had Lyme disease.  If I stub my toe in the morning and find a twenty dollar bill on the sidewalk in the afternoon, I’m not going to think the twenty is a gift because I stubbed my toe.  God doesn’t give gifts to make up for suffering.  He designed the suffering for our sanctification and His glory.

3. This is so unfair.

Saying something is ‘unfair’ assumes that you deserve better.  When you lose your job and say, ‘that’s unfair’, you’re saying, “I deserve that job.”  When you come down with a debilitating illness and say that’s ‘unfair’, you’re saying “I haven’t done anything to earn this.  I deserve better.”

There’s a number of problems with this statement.  First, God designed every day, remember?  So when you shake your fist and cry, “unfair!”  You’re really shaking your fist at God.  You’re accusing God of messing up.  Woah, woah!  Accuse God of messing up?  That’s so not what you meant.  Think about it.  God is sovereign overall, He plans everything out.  So when you say, “this is unfair”, you’re making a statement that God made a mistake in His sovereignty.  Instead of dishing out the blessings that you deserve, He accidentally gave you suffering instead.  You’re saying, “God, you made a mistake.  I was supposed to get the Olympian body, not the chronically ill one.  You were supposed to promote me, not sack me.  Take this suffering back, God.  You made a mistake.”

God doesn’t make mistakes.  He has a purpose and design in everything.  Instead of shaking your fist and accusing God, take time to pray and ask Him to help you see His hand in your suffering.  Instead of looking on it in a negative light, think of it as a blessing in disguise.

4. This is the worst day ever.

No, it’s probably not.  You’ll probably face worse, if you haven’t already in the past.  But more importantly, when we mark a day as being bad or filled with awfulness, we’re imputing a bad perception on something God designed.  In Psalm 139, David declares that every day of his life was designed before he was even born.  Every day.  Including the day Saul threw a spear at his head.  Including all the days he ran around the wilderness trying not to be killed by Saul.  Including the day his child died.  Every day of David’s life was designed by God, just as every day of our lives have been designed.   His mercies are new every morning.  God is faithful and will never leave us nor forsake us.

I can remember quite a few days I labeled as being the ‘worst day ever’.  But in retrospect, I can see that those days weren’t inherently bad.  More than once as a teenager, I received the news of a friend dying suddenly.  And it was awful.  A young person is not used to dealing with grief, and I felt the full weight of sorrow and despair as I mourned the loss of my friends.  On those days I thought, “this is the worst day ever.”  And it seemed like it was.  But I remember the time of prayer that followed these announcements, the crying out to God, the tears.  And I know that those experiences, those ‘bad days’ brought me closer to God.  It helped me to think of the future, to think of eternity, to think how fragile my life is.  And in some cases, it brought those of us left closer together, recognizing the uncertainty of life and causing us to value each other more.

The day you’re laid off, the day you’re diagnosed with an incurable disease, the day your child falls ill with a mysterious illness, all were designed by God for your benefit and for His glory.

The only ‘worst day ever’ to have happened in the history of the world is the day that Christ was beaten, whipped, mocked, impaled, and hung naked on a cross to suffocate to death.  And He volunteered.  Even that worst day had a purpose, opening the door for any sinner to come and receive salvation from their sins.

In light of Christ’s sufferings, ours pales in comparison.  What is grief?  What is disease?  What is unemployment when compared to the agony of Christ?  If He could bear the weight of His sufferings and glorify God the Father in His design for that day, surely we, who have divine help from God, can bear our bad days and glorify God for His design in them.

5. I can’t do it.

This is actually only a half-lie.  It’s true that you can’t do it. You can’t bear the grief of a dying loved one.  You can’t handle the desperation of bankruptcy.  You can’t endure the searing pain and agonizing symptoms of illness.  You can’t do it.  Alone.  What we fail to see when we look around at our problems and dire situations is that God is with us to help us.

More than once I’ve blurted out “I can’t go on.  I can’t do it.  I can’t do this anymore.”  And in the space that follows such an outburst, I am reminded by verses such as “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  “ask and you shall receive.”  etc. etc.  I’m still here, and it’s not because I’m particularly stronger than anybody else.  It’s not because I managed to keep away from the self-defeating attitude of “I can’t”, because I have embraced that attitude more times than I can count.  On the contrary, I am still here, fighting through my storms, because God has helped me every step of the way.  And when I said, “I can’t”, God stepped in to say, “Now youre starting to understandt.”  I can’t, but God can, which means I can.  And the same goes for you.  You can’t, but because God can, you can do it with His help. 

6. Why me?!

Why not you?  This question implies that you’re good enough that you shouldn’t have received the suffering given you.  “I’ve done a pretty good job of reading my Bible lately, so I just don’t understand why this happened.”  This question implies that the suffering you face is some kind of punishment.  You must not be doing enough for God, and that’s why you have this disease.  WRONG.

The apostle Paul underwent severe physical suffering. In 1 Corinthians 11, he provides us with a list of the sufferings he faced:

 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food,[b] in cold and exposure.

Was he beaten because he didn’t do enough on his missions trips?  Was he stoned because he did  not articulate the Gospel clearly enough?  No.  He underwent suffering for God’s glory, and he recognized that.  Later in the same letter, he wrote:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 1 Corinthians 12:9-10

 Paul recognized the opportunity suffering afforded him to be filled with God’s strength.  But his suffering was a result of persecution.  He was suffering for his faith, so of course we know it wasn’t a punishment.  True.  What of Epaphroditus?

I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 26 for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, near to death.. .  Philippians 2:25-27b

We don’t know what illness he had, but it was bad enough that he nearly died.  But he is not regarded in a negative light, as though his illness came as a result of sin.  In fact, Paul calls him his ‘fellow worker and fellow soldier’. His suffering did not come as a result of sin, and He remained faithful to God through it.

Ultimately these lies spring from the external focus of modern Christians today.  Centuries ago Christians viewed intangible things as blessings; grace, peace, love, mercy, etc. were all counted as blessings.  In today’s modern Christianity, we have shifted our view of blessings from being internal, intangible things to being external tangible things.  Houses, televisions, cars, clothes, and all the extra things of our materialistic lives are counted as blessings.  Sadly, our notion of what a blessing is has changed from a God-centered perspective to a materialistic perspective.  We say a person with many things is ‘so blessed’, but what does that say of a christian in a third world country?  Does not a poverty-stricken believer have access to the exceedingly abundant riches in Christ?  Is not a christian beggar in India just as blessed as a rich christian in America?  If we concede that God has blessed both abundantly, than we must need change our idea of what those abundant riches in Christ really are.  We must see that the exceeding riches of God cannot be cashed out for Ferraris and mansions, but rather they refer to the unbound depths of God’s love, mercy, and joy.  We are blessed, not because we have abundance of materials and wealth.  We are blessed in our souls with the truth and power of God.  Our internal blessings are eternal, and cannot be stolen away.

So if you find yourself with an empty bank account and food stamps, sitting in a doctor’s office after receiving horrible news, or wearing black at a friend’s funeral, don’t lie to yourself.  Those lies won’t help you.  Instead, speak the truth.

1) God has designed suffering for His glory, our sanctification, and the edification of His saints.

2) All suffering has a purpose, if not multiple purposes. This purpose may not be something tangible, bit may be an intangible hidden blessing.

3) Suffering itself, when viewed with a right perspective, is a blessing.

4) God does not give sympathy blessings to make up for suffering.

5) God is with us in the midst of our suffering to comfort and guide, providing peace and strength when we need it most.

-Lymediseasewarrior

lymelightfight@gmail.com

Ten Tips to Rock the Job. . .With a Chronic Illness

Tip #1: Dont take a job you know you can’t handle.  Be honest with yourself when you consider the physical demands of a position.  Ask enough questions prior to accepting to determine whether you can meet the demands.  Hiding your needs/limitations that will impact your job will only get you in trouble later if you can’t keep up.

Tip #2: Keep it a secret.  If it’s feasible to hide (i.e. nothing outwardly obvious), it may be in your best interest to do so.  Why invite coworkers or bosses to pity you when you don’t need it, be suspicious when you take a sick day, or underestimate you when you’re just as capable as anybody else? Again, I do not recommend keeping things a secret that will impact your ability to do the job.

Tip #3: BE PREPARED.  Keep an emergency bag with you.  Painkillers, Pepto, pain patches, arthritis cream, nasal spray, eye drops–whatever you might need on a bad day, bring it with you.  Since we already deal with problems on a daily basis, a seemingly small problem can tip us over the edge from a day where we’re coping to a bad day indeed.  So keep these things on hand for quick and easy access.

Tip #4: Keep hydrated.  Bring a reusable water bottle with you and keep it filled and on hand. Most conditions are aggravated by dehydration.

Tip #5: Keep your tummy happy.  Have ready-to-eat snacks on hand such as granola bars, to eat in-between meals.  Bring foods easier on the stomach, such as chicken noodle soup, a bland sandwich, etc.  You can always run out and get more exciting food on your lunch break if you’re feeling up to it.  But if lunch time comes around and you’re feeling under the weather and all you have is a greasy pizza, you’re in for it!

Tip #6: Buy the comfiest pair of shoes your dress code will allow.  Memory foam or an equivalent would be a good option; they feel like little pillows hugging your feet on each step.  If you can’t afford a brand-new pair of comfy shoes, or you dress code is too strict too bother; consider getting a set of gel inserts.  Depending on the variety, they can be pulled out and switched between shoes, and make any pair of uncomfortably cute flats like walking on clouds.

Tip#7: Know when to ask for help. Most workplaces will have government laws and/or company rules that require them to accommodate within reason an employee’s needs to do a job.  Such as a special adjustable chair, an ergonomic keyboard, a standing desk, additional breaks, etc.

Tip#8: Know your company’s time off and sick leave policies. How many sick days do you get? How do you use them? How many times can you call out in a given period of time?  Depending on your company, your condition may even qualify for intermittent leave of absence to protect you when you call out periodically.

Tip#9: Take care of yourself outside of work.  Know your triggers and work against them.  Go to the gym periodically if keeping your body moving helps.  Set a bedtime and get enough sleep. Avoid coffee, milk, sugar, gluten. Stretch when you wake up. Schedule a massage once a month or see a chiropractor.

Tip#10: Know when to leave. If you  start to find that the demands of your job are starting to be more taxing on your body and it’s impacting the quality of your life, it’s time to start thinking of moving on.  Look around you for a different position that will be more suitable for your needs.  Before you leave, have an honest conversation with your boss.  Maybe some changes can be made to enable you to stay?

 

How do you keep yourself alive and doing well at work?  Comment below!

-LymeDiseaseWarrior

lymelightfight@gmail.com

 

 

Post Lyme life update

hello readers!

It’s been a while.  I wanted to check back in and update you on life after Lyme.

I am now moving into my fourth month since my last visit with my Lyme doctor when she declared me to be done with my fight.  I wake up every day now with an overwhelming sense of relief and freedom.  My husband and I are enthusiastically taking steps to meet our now attainable life goals. Life without Lyme is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined!

It is not perfect though, not for me.     I still experience joint pain regularly, especially when it rains. This is something I had expected to be and hoped to be cured from, but it appears Lyme has left my body damaged.  Warmer and dryer weather is on the way, though; so hopefully this can improve.

In other news, my husband and I are trying to get pregnant. I can’t help but fear that my Lyme will make it difficult for us to have children, even though my doctor reassures me that it won’t have any impact on that.  The sooner we get a positive test result, the sooner I’ll believe her.  Meanwhile I am learning to trust God in this situation, just as I learned to trust Him during all the Lyme years.

Thank you for reading!

LymeDiseaseWarrior

lymelightfight@gmail.com

 

 

Crossing The Finish Line

In my first post, I declared that I would no longer let Lyme rule my life.  I would not suffer from Lyme disease, I would live with Lyme disease.  I find myself writing a new mantra: I will live.  And that is all.  I am overjoyed to announce to the world that I have been cured from Lyme disease.

Last week, I had a visit with my Lyme doctor.  We reviewed my recent test results for Lyme disease and found them to be clean and clear.  No more active infection.   That’s it–done.  8 years of illness, 3 years of treatment, and now I’m done.

Before I started writing this post I reviewed my old posts to remind me what it was like.  Gosh I was sick.  I was SO SICK!!!  And I’ve been feeling so much better and my life has improved by leaps and bounds that I got all caught up and forgot to slow down and appreciate everything.  I can do stuff, I can go places; I have friends, I have a job!  Since I started this blog, I have graduated college, started working full time, fell in love, and got married.  My life today compared to my life at the time I started this blog are drastically different!

My days then were so full of pain and nausea; I was limited in EVERYTHING and I battled with depression when my recovery didn’t go according to plan. And now here I am–a free woman!  Free as a bird, able to go anywhere and do anything!  I could climb a mountain, run a marathon, start a business, travel the world, become the best of the best at anything I set my mind to.  Why?  Because there’s nothing to limit me!  The sky is the limit!  And even then I could become an astronaut if I wanted to, and then not even the sky would limit me!

Do you understand the significance and magnitude of this life-changing news?!  For the past 8 years, I have been defined by an illness, a disease.  Days, weeks, months, and even years of my life have rolled agonizingly past me, leaving me behind and stuck in bed.

I didn’t even know who I was when I started this blog!  I asked myself, what am I like?  Am I driven? Independent?  Am I someone people would look up to?  Am I a leader?  Am I funny?  Am I fun to be around?  Because I didn’t know the answers to these questions.  Lyme entered my life in the latter part of my childhood and into my early adulthood.  I had never discovered who I am as an adult–the symptoms had suppressed my personality and drive to do anything.   Guess what?  I’m awesome.  I’m an amazing person.  I’m proud of the adult I am.  And I don’t say that to be conceited–I really mean it!  I’m funny!  I crack jokes all the time and I tell funny stories that people genuinely laugh at!  I’m really driven and very independent.  I am a leader, and I’m compassionate and caring, and I love helping others.  I love getting up early and going to work.  I love being a part of a church.  I make a great wife too!  (Just ask my husband!) I am proud of who I am.  Because you know what?  It was stinkin’ hard to get here.

Reading those blog posts reminded me of how much I struggled just to walk halfway around the block.  Now my husband and I go on hikes, and I hit up the gym several times a week for strength training.  I was too ill to work when I started, but now I work full-time, and I love my job!  I couldn’t drive, and now I drive 2 hours every day!  I couldn’t eat certain foods, and now I can eat anything! I was living with my parents, and now I’m living in our own house with my husband!  I used to cry at night because of debilitating pain, and now I snore away when my head hits the pillow!  I took one class a semester, and now I’ve graduated college, and I’m continuing my education.  And ya know what?  A few months back, I wanted to give up.  I was tired.  I was tired of fighting, tired of pills.  I was resigned to live the rest of my life with Lyme disease and stop trying to actively fight against it.  My wedding was coming up and I was severely disappointed that I would have to “carry Lyme” with me down the aisle.  But the funny thing is, we ran those tests and I was supposed to review them before my wedding!  WHICH MEANS I DIDN’T HAVE LYME WHEN I WALKED DOWN THE AISLE.  That’s right.  This strong healthy woman walked down that aisle and married that handsome hunk of a man, and there weren’t any Lyme present at the wedding.  I am walking into this next chapter of my life for the first time, without Lyme. 

So where do I go from here?  Well, I’m not off the recovery path yet.  I beat Lyme, but I still have to kick out all the mold overgrowths that invaded when my immune system was bugged down with Lyme.  And the doctor wants me to do one more round of antibiotics, “just in case” I “might” have a little touch of Bartonella to clean up.  And I do still have mild joint pain.  It seems Lyme left behind an inflammatory arthritic condition.  So I still have some work to do.  But the major battle is out of the way!  I won the war!  And now I just have to do the clean up.

As for the distant future, I am at risk of a relapse.  See, the little spiral-shaped nasties can drill down into the body and even convert into cyst-forms that can hide from the immune system. They can lie dormant in my organs and ligaments and then pop out in a few years or decades and try to take over again.  But I know the symptoms, and I’ll be watching closely.  The minute those ugly beasties pop up their ugly little heads I’ll have my doctor on speed dial to fire off a volley of antibiotics to beat them back again.

But that might never occur, and until then, I’ll be living my life to the fullest, as happy as a clam with my husband, marching boldly forward into this new thing called “health” and exploring all it has to offer.  I will go on adventures!  I will accomplish great feats!  I will be an exemplary character in this thing called “life”! And I will be grateful for every day God has given me on this green earth.

May I never forget where I came from, the people that got me here, and the lessons God has taught me along the way.  Thank you all for your prayer, support, and encouragement.

To my fellow Lymies, keep your head up!  I know it’s hard, I know it’s the hardest thing in the whole world to keep fighting.  Hang in there and don’t give up.  Because life can be beautiful and being healthy is a wonderful dream to achieve.

 

-LymeDiseaseVictor

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