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.