I’ve learned that life goes on.
When tomorrow arrives with its coffee and routines more often than not none of the people in your world will take thought of your plight. And it’s not their fault.
They open their eyes to the sounds of a new day; morning news, phones ringing, subway musicians, social media, children rushing, dogs barking. Their busy lives might contain unwanted battles, too.
Most people don’t have to think about whether or not their limbs will move, their brain is operating correctly, or if the pain will prevent them from otherwise manageable maneuvers. But for the Lyme warrior, you can’t afford not to think of it. You don’t get to have a day without Lyme. If you forget, you neglect to take premium care of yourself and that could lead to your own demise quite quickly.
I’ve learned that I have to budget my energy like I do my bank account. Otherwise, I’ll be overdrawn before morning is over.
Let’s say my energy is measured in dollars. Some mornings, I wake up in the red. Others, I have just enough to make it through the day alive so I have to purpose not to bounce checks. Then there are those rare instances when I find myself with extra. It’s so unlikely that I know this type of energy may never come again. So, like a kid who never gets allowance but just found a 10 spot, that energy is burning a hole in my pocket. What to do, what to do? Do I spend all that energy window shopping? Cooking? Go out all day? Take a drive? Go horseback riding? Oh, the possibilities seem endless!
I’ve been known to go-go-go until I crash and burn. I don’t mind. I know that tomorrow I will pay for playing today but, my God it’s been so long- just let me live!
I’ve learned that compassion towards myself goes a long way. That includes things like allowing myself to sleep late without shame, setting limits and saying “no” to things I can’t do without guilt or trepidation.
I’ve learned that good health includes body, soul, and spirit. My mind and emotions must be cared for, too. I’m careful what I allow my eyes to see and ears to hear because they largely determine what my heart feels.
I’ve learned that having a chronic illness such as Lyme is dramatic enough all by itself. Even with the best of health, I wouldn’t allow drama instigators to be a part of my life, and with Lyme I’m even more protective of my peace. There’s occasionally going to be that one dude or dudette who’ll try to schlep into my world carrying their own drama. They’ll try to drag me right smack into the middle of it. My drama radar will sound the alarm, though, and before they can say “I want an Oscar,” I will kindly change their role in my life.
I’ve learned that laughing, kissing, hugging, and a good cup of coffee contain medicinal properties and that an occasional piece of dark chocolate won’t kill me.
I’ve learned that there’s a stark difference between being childish and childlike and the latter is life affirming. Building sandcastles, flying kites, and playing with puppies makes you feel better every time. Allowing your mood to dictate your manners doesn't.
Horses listen better than psychologists. Dogs love you if you cancel their walk or not, and secretly watching baby birds learning to fly can teach you more than any self-help book ever written. Some people will try to take advantage of your weakness and try to sell you anything from Aardvark chromosomes to Zebra pee to “cure” you of your disease. Yes, I’ve pretty much heard it all and I’ve had people actually become angry with me when I wouldn’t buy their magical "cure" for Lyme. I just “must not want to get well.” Um hum, sure.
Real friends show up when you’re going through the darkest time of your life and fake friends step out. It’s wonderful and sad simultaneously. Prayers keep you alive, simple love keeps you strong. A simple text or phone call can change your whole day and make it a million times better. Love means giving and receiving. Real friendship is a two-way street and lifetime friendships are what makes life worth living. Old movies are the best, bath bombs cause happiness, and the beach is better for your health than a hospital.
Most of all, I’ve learned that I’m always learning and the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know much at all. Except, perhaps, that no matter the question you’re seeking the answer to- the answer is love.