January 26, 2018
Dear Lyme Disease,
We’ve been through a lot together. And I have to be honest here-you have put me through a lot. Along with the other infections you brought with you, like Babesia, Bartonella, Epstein Bar Virus, Candida, and Cytomegalovirus to name a few. I needed to put into words all the things you’ve put me through-the good, bad, and the ugly so I can finally set you free and move on.
There are times when I absolutely hate you. I find myself angry. I feel sorry for myself. I get grumpy and blame you for all the problems I experience. You humiliate me when I cannot remember a word or someone’s name. I hate that I can’t even turn on the lights in my classroom because I am too sensitive to them. Sometimes I just want to be “normal.” Maybe I don’t always want to eat Paleo and maybe I want to enjoy a Coors beer and pizza. Maybe I want to be able to run a bunch of errands, do a high intensity workout, and meet friends for drinks- ALL after work. I can’t do any of those things, at once, sometimes at all, after work because I don't have the energy for it. You make me feel pathetic and less than when I can’t wake up early like other people or when I go to bed at a crazy early hour.
You put me through pain when I wake up every morning. My fingers, wrists, and elbows ache. My knee is stiff and my shoulders pop. And for God’s sake-did you really have to swell up my pinky like that? It just looks ridiculous. And don’t say “no one notices” I notice and I cannot stand waking up every morning and looking at that swollen finger. This journey-if I can even call it that-has exhausted me. I don’t know how much longer I can endure or how many more affirmations I can say when the reality is you make me feel like shit. Some days I feel like absolute shit and just want to crawl into bed. But most of the time I just feel “low grade shitty” which might be worse because to everyone else I look fine. When the reality is, on the inside I’m hurting. I hurt physically. I hurt emotionally. I feel lonely and helpless at times. I get insecure wondering if you are all in my head or if anyone even believes me.
Yes, you’ve put me through all this. But here’s the part where I have to be completely, utterly, raw and honest. I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t change a thing because after all the shit you’ve put me through (and trust me, you’ve put me through it) I wouldn’t go back and do it differently. I can blame you all I want, I can play the victim all I want, but that only makes my ego feel better-temporarily. Here’s the truth I have finally realized-you no longer have power over me and my body. I choose to let you go and release you from my body, with love.
During those times when I say “no” to meeting up with friends when parts of myself wanted to say “yes” I was left with only me. Whether you mean to or not, you force me to slow down. You remind me how important it is to take care of myself. You nudge me to nourish my body with food that will help me and not hurt me. You’ve given me the courage to share my story with other people battling chronic illness. You’ve made me cry (a lot) but you’ve also made me laugh through meeting with other “Lymeys” or trying the latest whacky treatment that I hope will get rid of you.
You brought the right person into my life and you showed me the wrong one. Remember the first guy I told about you? His immediate response was “is it contagious?”. And then the right one found me. And when I told him about you his first response was “what can I do for you?”. You shined light on the right people I need to surround myself with. You’ve revealed the friends, family members, and strangers that show up, ask how I’m feeling, make me laugh, and love me. I can’t thank you enough for that.
So, Lyme-where does this leave us now? Yes, we’ve had our bad times, and our good times. But now I say to you, in love, it’s time for you to go. This came to me the tonight, coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally) while I was taking a detox bath trying to get rid of you. The song we sing at school when the kids leave all-school Chapel popped into my head:
Go now in peace,
Go now in peace,
May the love of God be with you
You shall go
The Holy Spirit, the Universe, Grace, God, whatever you want to call it works that way. When I’m having an egoic and selfish pity party God reminds me to bless those who persecute you (which, if I haven’t made it clear enough that’s YOU Lyme).
As I release you, there’s no fuck you’s, no fingers in the air. But it is time to go. I can thank you for a new found ability to stand up for myself and put myself first. You’ve made me stronger, and for that, I now say farewell.
Go now in peace.