Today while deep in the throws of discouragement I began counting. I counted and I typed up a list. It includes a lot of numbers and statistics. It's very impressive, my list.
Take the number fourty-seven.
That's the number of years since the initial tick bite with bulls-eye rash on my arm, ignored due to lack of public education on Lyme and tick-borne illnesses.
Then there's lucky number 13. Here we are 13 years post correct diagnosis. I'm still positive for Borrelia Burgdorferi, Babeosis, Bartonella, and Chlamydia Pneumonia. (Not the sexually transmitted kind- this is a common co-infection of Lyme.)
I've seen 32 doctors, including a Psychologist (Because, you know, Lyme Disease is "All in your head".) Infectious Disease specialists, Ophthalmologist, Cardiologists, Neurologists, 10 different Lyme specialists, OBGYN, General Practitioners, ENT, Rheumatologist, Endocrinologist, Homeopathic physicians, and Naturopathic doctors.
(Why all these? Because Lyme affects every single component within the body. Every. Single. One.)
3 Physical Therapists.
4 Lymph Massage Therapists.
3 in-home nurses.
3 central lines.
Approximately 527, 984 lab tests.
4 CAT scans.
2 Brain Spect scans.
Countless ER visits.
Heart stress tests, lost count.
CD-57 tests, lost count.
Enough blood drawn to feed the Cullen family for all eternity.
Results? Many treatment failures and I'm still fighting to live.
My list goes on.
I just want 1, count them, one, normal life.
I want to wake up on any given Tuesday at 6am and get ready for work, like I used to.
Clients who want to exchange recipes or send you a gift basket after your project for them is completed.
I want to run out of mascara faster because I use it every day.
Bad hair days, runners in my stockings, driving in the snow. Grocery lists, burnt toast, phone ringing, dog barking and "Honey I love you, see you tonight."
I want a 40 hour work week and occasionally go in early to get a project completed on time.
I'll make our lunches and scurry out the door hoping all the lights are green and swear under my breath at some joker who could quite possibly give me road rage if my office wasn't just on the left. I'll drink really strong coffee and talk too much during early morning conference meetings. I'll discuss IT stuff again, and understand blade servers and actually remember what I used to know that is now lost somewhere in the abyss of the damage that Lyme did to my brain.
There are memories I'll never get back. Things I once learned that are completely gone now.
In my normal life, I won't forget to stop by Sprouts on my way home to pick up some cilantro and lettuce because we're having tacos tonight, that I will make because I have the energy of a normal, healthy woman.
I'll greet my husband with a slow kiss that makes him remember one of the reasons he married me. Then I'll serve a scrumptious meal and we will talk about our work day together. Maybe we'll watch NCIS later and afterwards I'll iron my blouse and skirt for tomorrow.
A normal life. Normal. What does that even mean?
After thirteen years Lyme Disease is normal for us. We don't have the luxury of not thinking about it every single day. If we forget, I'll die. It's that simple and that complicated. I am now a disabled woman. Some mornings I wake up and I can't feel my legs. I need help making it across the room. Many doctors have told me working full or part time could cause me to severely decline. I don't get a choice in the matter, I can't work anymore. I miss it.
While I was counting, I decided to count my blessings, too.
Inner circle of friends who've seen me fighting Lyme at it's absolute worst.- 6.
Number of people praying for me- Innumerable.
People who love me and prove it with actions- Innumerable.
Times I've laughed and smiled in the past 13 years- Innumerable.
So that settles it I guess. My blessings really do outweigh the other stuff I face daily. So, I will look defeat in the eyes and tell him to get lost. He'll hang out for a little while longer before he scrams, but he'll go. He'll probably try again another day to rattle me to my core. He won't win, and for that, I thank the immeasurable amount of love surrounding me this very day. Love so great, there's no room to count it on any list. There'd never be enough paper or ink for that list.
Thank you, friends. Thank You, God.