My sons had just left for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Special Forces. Infantry. Front lines of war, boots on the ground.
That's when the diagnosis came. Late Stage Lyme. I didn't know how serious it was until a team of doctors explained it to my husband and I in great detail.
I was shell shocked to say the least. I had two wars to fight now. Theirs and mine.
A young man never goes to war alone, his family is in a war, too. His mother will pace the floors at night waiting, wondering and hoping for the safe return of her child. She will freak out and have nightmares. She will weep. A lot. She will tremble with each news report but she will never give up.
To think of them, the very reasons for my heart beat, to be fighting over there, for the freedom of another country. For freedom from terrorism and oppression. Good God, how do you get through a single minute much less a day- wondering if your only children are dead or alive? I'm still not sure how any of us did it.
My sons, they are the pulse within my veins, the reason I breathe. Better women than me have prayed for the return of their sons just as hard as I did and yet, theirs came home in a box. It seems so wrong for me to be happy that mine came home, when theirs didn't.
Thirteen years later, it still seems wrong and unjust. There are just some questions that have no answers I guess.
How do I explain to my sons that I may not make it? That this disease has run amok in my body and is taking over my brain? How do I tell them that they could come home to no mother?
I refused to say it. I refused to allow my words to cause them one nanosecond of stress which could've been a reason for their concentration to shatter. They needed to focus on the task at hand. My news could've been their undoing.
No. I wouldn't. I didn't.
The thought occurred to me that while they were fighting terrorists over there, that I was fighting one no less stealthy. I had to win, for them.
“Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” yelled Admiral David Farragut, who had latched himself atop the mainsail to see above the smoke.
His fleet of wooden ships with hulls wrapped in chains, and his four iron-clad monitors, were attacking Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864.
When one of his ships, the Tecumseh, sank after hitting an underwater mine and called a torpedo, his fleet faltered in confusion.
Farragut rallied his troops, chose to fight harder than ever before, and drove them on to capture the last Confederate stronghold in the Gulf of Mexico.
Today, thirteen years after my initial diagnosis, I am still in the trenches. I have not advanced. All that has happened, according to test results and doctor's reports is, they've managed to keep me alive.
Alive. It cannot mean just to fight to live another day. Alive has to mean to really live life! There's more to this life than merely being in a fight all the time. Even Special Forces teams get R & R. Rest and recuperation. Yes, please and thank you.
No military man is required to fight 24/7 with no break. Nobody can do that. When my sons were on leave they would often write home more than usual. They would try to have some fun. They would sleep more. They would find solace and peace in the company of their comrades.
Superman rested, Wonder Woman rested and they aren't even real! Their creators knew that it would seem too unrealistic to the reader to dismiss the need for rest even for a superhero.
Even God rested on the seventh day. He is real.
Did He need it? Not likely. However, He set an example for His creation, saying to us, "It's OK to rest."
When my sons came home from physical war, it wasn't over for them when their boots landed on friendly soil. It's not that easy. They were more like eagles who flew back to the safety of their nests, only to find a hurricane was approaching. PTSD is a __itch of a war to fight. I saw my father contend with it. He once told me that although he returned from the Korean War in his early 20's, the flashbacks and nightmares continued well into his 70's. I guess my war isn't going to be over very easily either.
Dad once said, "That's just a part of war, a price you pay for freedom from tyranny. War is hell. No man in his right mind wants a war...but it's part of what must be done to keep terrorism and tyranny from our shores. Yet, terrorism is here. We must be vigilant. In your war against Lyme, you must be vigilant. I know you're afraid sometimes, but you've got warrior blood running through your veins. You have what it takes. You can win."
I believe him. So, I fight. Daily. And, I rest, which is not a passive event when you must do it in order to live. I'll do every single thing, big or small, in my power in order to win. Live or die, I will cultivate joy, friendships, and show forth love to this hurting world. I'll try my best to educate civilians (Non-Lyme Warriors) so that there are less casualties from this Goliath called Lyme.
I want to shout it from the rooftops; "I am not afraid! Damn the torpedoes, Love is my battle cry, so full speed ahead!"