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33 & Me

Today's my 33rd birthday.

Hold on a second. I need to let that sink in...

Thirty-three. I'm shaking my head in disbelief, not because I feel old--although most days my body acts like it belongs to an eighty-year-old--but because every year feels like another chance for healing, for hope, for health.

There was a time when I didn't think I would see my 30th birthday. Twice along this Lyme journey, I

almost gave up and gave in. Every day I wake up ready to do battle against this disease--fighting against the pain and fatigue, fighting for my health and livelihood. Four years of near-constant illness can wear anyone down, make the soul grow weary, make you wonder what it is you're really fighting for. There were times when I forgot what I was fighting for. So many days passed in a haze, and I thought anything would be better than this half-life; anything would be better than this perpetual state of limbo where I begged for some kind of relief, no matter what it looked like.

But then, eight months after my relapse, something began to change. Not much changed by way of

this illness--in fact, I was beginning to feel worse due to a new co-infection that had gone

undetected. But there was something stirring within me, like hope was waking from a long slumber. Whenever I started to feel down about my circumstances, there it was, nudging me onward, reminding me of my strength and resilience. The fire that had almost gone out sparked anew, and I was reminded of the old Susan--the Susan I was before this disease--only there was something else there, too...Something better. Something stronger.

I felt like I'd been reborn.

There are days when loneliness still chokes me, days when the fog and fatigue of this disease throw me into a hurricane of negative emotion. But that storm always passes now. The skies always clear. Because I remind myself that today is another day, and I'm still here. And that's the only thing that matters.

I could celebrate my recent book launch.

I could celebrate partnering with a great Lyme organization to write about Lyme and loneliness on their blog.

I could even celebrate the fact that I turned 33.

But it's so much more than this. Because while I've been lucky enough to see these wonderful dreams come to life, life is what I'm celebrating... Another year here on this earth. Another year here among family and friends for whom I have so much love and gratitude. Another year of living.

Because I'm alive. Goddamnit, this life is precious and beautiful, and I'm alive. And I'm thankful for every breath, every heartbeat, and every second.

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