"What is Lyme Disease?"
I've come to know that the MOST common question that any Lymie receives is the aforementioned question above. I've found myself answering this question dozens of times, and I am quickly reminded how tragic the Lyme epidemic is due to the lack of information and education that the average person has on the topic. There is nothing "rare" about Lyme disease, as there are 27,000 new cases of Lyme disease in the United States every MONTH! And yet those who do not suffer from it often seem to turn a blind eye to it because the medical system has caused society to believe that it "doesn't exist." As a Lyme survivor myself, I can attest that it does exist, and it is one of the most challenging adversities that I believe a human being can suffer from.
So what is Lyme disease? Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can spread to virtually any organ system in the body due to its spiral shape that easily can drill into any tissue, cell, muscle, or organ. Lyme disease and its co-infections can attack its victim and leave it completely paralyzed or in severe and unbearable pain for years, and Lyme disease is a constant battle to fight and the chances of beating it are slim to none. And yet there are thousands who fight every day, despite the harsh reality that is Lyme disease. Lyme disease is science, and yet it is so much more.
Lyme disease is pain. More pain than I ever believed a single human being could bear on their own until I was forced to bear it myself and watch many of my loved ones bear it as well. Lyme disease is loneliness, isolation, and insufferable boredom as you spend a lot of the time waiting for a treatment to work (or not work), waiting to feel better, waiting on doctors and support that never comes, and waiting to be well enough to be able to live life like anyone else. Lyme disease is blowing all your money on treatment that you don't even know will work, trying anything and everything to feel better, and crying in prayer during many dark nights because it's impossible to endure on your own. Lyme disease is hoping. Because sometimes when you've been stripped of everything, hope is the only thing you have left. And let's not forget that Lyme disease is resilience, patience, perseverance, and at times its just pure grit. Lyme leaks into everything, and it changed my life. And it is currently changing the lives of thousands and millions of others who are fighting the good fight every day of their lives.
Why is it important that we seek to crush Lyme? Because with so many suffering, we have to fight to crush the disease before it crushes us. And if we all ban together on this issue, we may find that doctors, friends, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters will start to listen to us. And once that happens we can change the world. We can offer more help and hope for the hands that hang down by the crushing the grip of Lyme.
So the next time you find yourself talking to a fellow Lymie, take time to LISTEN and offer love and compassion. That small act can truly be one big step into crushing Lyme disease and the stigma that comes with it. Lyme disease may try to crush us, but it never will because we do not intend to quit anytime soon.
This post was inspired by Splash of Lyme's "Crushing Lyme" campaign. You can follow this amazing Lyme warrior by following @splashoflyme on Instagram and checking out her amazing blog here. Thanks so much to Courtney for starting this and for sending love to all the Lymies this Lyme Disease Awareness month!
I wish I could tell you that it was going to be easy. I wish I could say that the road of Lyme disease was something that everyone understood and that there wouldn’t be moments of disappointment or despair along the way. I wish I could explain that there aren’t very many tears and that there is an absolute solution to it all. I wish I could express to you that it wasn’t as mindboggling and scary as it is.
The truth is that Lyme disease is one of the most difficult adversities that a human being could experience. Lyme is commonly all encompassing, meaning that it will impact every ounce of your life. And at some point, you’ll find that you’ve been changed forever and that there is no going back to the person you were before. The day will come that you’ll glance at yourself in the mirror and you won’t recognize yourself. That first day of sudden realization will be met with tears and grief, but with time will be transformed to acceptance, gratitude, and hope.
The reality of Lyme disease is that all of the pain and hardship may be strikingly real. However, I can promise you as well that the reality of Lyme disease can also have an elegant beauty about it that is found deep within the veins of your pain and struggle. A beauty that is born from your strength, resilience, courage, and determination to continue forward the best you can despite your difficulties.
There may be pain and tears of sorrow, but there will be days of relief and rejoicing of your victories. There may be anxiety and despair, but there will also be moments of peace and gratitude that runs deeper than it ever did before. There may be loneliness, but there will be a connection and love from God and others deeper than you have ever imagined. Furthermore there may be days where you feel unlovable and worthless, but your continuing faith and persistence will prove otherwise.
You see my friend, it may be piercingly difficult at times, but it is those difficulties that will shape you into the glorious person that you were destined to be. For progression, growth, and grace bloom out of the deepest adversities.
You are not alone. You are strong. You are loved. Don’t give up. You may have Lyme disease, but Lyme disease will never have you. Your body has the capacity to heal and there are resources and protocols out there that can and will heal you with patience and persistence. There is hope and healing ahead.
Stay strong my friend. For there are battalions of people and angels rooting for you and cheering you on in your journey of Lyme.
A Fellow Lymie
This post was inspired by Lyme Now who has kicked off Lyme awareness month by starting the #lettertoalymie series. You can check out their website and read a lot of other letters to Lymies by clicking here!