LymeBrave: Five Years Strong
Today marks five years since I was diagnosed with Lyme disease after fifteen-plus years of inexplicable illness.
Five years of healing. Five years of fighting. Five more years of being alive.
I'm sitting here writing this, shaking my head at how much can change in just five years, thinking that it's not just bits and pieces of a life that have changed, but everything.
I remember so clearly sitting on my couch and crying to my mom on the phone because the doctors refused to accommodate my request for a simple blood test when I did my own research and began to suspect Lyme Disease.
"I give up," I cried to her...Because what do you do when the medical community shrugs its shoulders and turns its back on you, when they no longer see you as a person or a patient, but as a problem to be cast aside when nothing adds up? I didn't know where to turn next. I was out of options, out of energy, and out of faith. "I just don't want to fight anymore."
"Then I'll fight for you," she said.
The next day, someone answered my plea on a message board with a Lyme specialist's name and number. Two weeks later, my parents and I were sitting in his office, diagnosis confirmed.
Five years since then. Five long years. When I look back through my Facebook feed or read my blog posts or go through these quotes from my book, putting myself back in those moments, there's a distance from the worst of it, even in this relapse--like that period in my life has become a faded memory, even though it's a permanent part of me, even as I'm forced to face it all again.
I want to look ahead at what's to come, but I have to look back. I have to remember what I've been through, what I've survived--what I'm struggling to survive even now. Because there is no choice here. Looking back and knowing what I survived once is the only way I know to keep moving forward and survive it again.
But it's more than that. I've learned so much these past five years. I've learned how to become stronger, braver--how to use my voice to be strong and brave for others. This community and the unconditional love and support from family and friends consistently remind me that you can heal even among the pain. They've taught me that we don't have to fight these battles alone.
We're never alone.
No matter where you are, or who you are, or what you're going through--no matter how big or how small your battles seem--don't give up. Don't ever give up.
Because when you can't find the strength or faith to fight anymore...we'll will be there fighting for you.
* * * To read my Lyme Disease story, check out LymeBrave or The Archives. Join the LymeBrave community on Facebook at Being LymeBrave. Learn more about The Last Letter: A Novel on Life and Lyme by ordering the book. This month only, use coupon code LYMEBRAVE to get 15% off your total order.