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Daily Conqueror Moments

Daily encouragement and inspiration for the warrior in all of us. You can be a winner, a victor, and a CONQUEROR every day of your life. Lisa's posts will help lead the way on this cadence we call life.

Hello 2018!

Lisa Williams

2017...I know exactly why it's so hard to let go of you.

 When you were young, he was still here, although very old. Yet, from his bashful mind came clear, sweet colloquies about real life and fairytales. Camping in the California mountains, baseball games, tea parties and storybooks and school carnivals. Ferris wheels and candy apples in autumn. He had not forgotten all of it.

Yet.
 

Dad left in November, although his frail body would persevere until mid-December, his mind took it’s leave of us first. I knew he had been taken hostage when he could not recall the sobriquet he granted me the day of my birth. My heart broke into some jillion tiny fragments, stabbing my soul with their shards. Dad didn’t answer another phone call from me after that day, because he couldn’t remember how to use a telephone.
 

Early after his diagnosis he asked, “Bonbon, what do I do when I can’t remember my own name?”

“Just remember we love you.”

“Then you remember that, too, alright? Lisabon, I won’t forget you on purpose, so, you remember that I love you, alright?”
“I will. Promise.”  
 

I will keep the promise, and I will remember. I will not grieve forever or without hope. Because even with all his frailties, flaws and shortcomings he believed that on lonely Calvary there died a Savior. He trusted that one act of pure love was enough to save his soul.

We had a lot in common. We were both ambidextrous, we both loved horses and dogs. We both loved fishing, country western music, and John Wayne movies.
He was as far from perfect as I, and even if we had nothing else in common, it was our desperate need for a Savior.
I trust, I know, I will see my father again. Therefore, I have hope amidst these now relenting tears.
Birds still sing, sun still shines, snow still falls, children still laugh.

So, I will live my life like every day is the last, embracing the new like a baby fresh from God. Relinquishing the past like a stone across a lake, skip-skip-skipping until inertia abandons it’s claim.
Hello 2018, and welcome to my life! It’s nice to meet you, shall we be friends? May I whisper my hopes and dreams in your ears?

I place you in God’s hands, and I am safe.

xoxo

A little glimmer of hope

Lisa Williams

I complained about pain in my body from Lyme disease, and then I told myself to be quiet.

I quieted my heart and mind. I heard the truth so plainly like an old song floating through the air like a bird on a journey to a safer place.
What the world needs now, is love, sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of...

The truth is, so many people are suffering in this world today, and who am I to compare pains?

I've never lost a loved one and everything I own in a flood or an earthquake.

There's such tremendous loss today in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and several other islands. Mexico has been hit with a devastating earthquake. Not to mention the daily sufferings of those in third world countries. Then we have a madman from Korea who wants to kill us all and rule the world. 

We've got world leaders intent on killing their own people, poverty on such deep levels- like most of us will never experience. Poverty that makes our worst financial situation in the USA look like we're millionaires to the suffering that is such a stark reality for them. Those out-of-the-way places where children are literally starving.
We've got earthquakes, floods, famine, disease, wars, and rumors of wars. We've got racism and misunderstandings. Gossip, spite, hatred, jealousy, and petty feuds. There's (stupid) division over political stuff that in the grand scheme of things doesn't amount to beans. We've got marriages breaking up and friendships breaking down. Indifference is growing in our world like a weed, and somewhere along the line, so much love has...

Simply. Grown. Cold.

Maybe the atmosphere is howling out such a desperate cry and the earth is trembling with hard devastation because it just can't take it anymore- the lack of love here, I mean.

What then, shall we do?

Can we turn it around? Do you believe that one act of loving kindness can have a domino effect? Maybe, together, we can make a difference. Can we reignite a little glimmer of hope by caring for one another? I believe we can. Together.

Take a chance and reach out. Talk to your neighbor. Instead of asking what you can do for someone who is hurting, just do something. Be bold. Show up with dinner, a batch of cookies, a case of water. Mow someone's lawn. Invite the widow or widower over. Set an extra plate for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner and fill that place with someone who has no one.

I know a girl named Becky who, when she cooks a great big meal, posts an invitation on Facebook for anyone close by who wants to stop in. I swear she'd feed the whole town if she could. Let's be like Becky and love that big.

You can heal me! I can heal you! It's done by waking up in the morning and asking yourself What can I do today to make this world a better place? Then, doing that very thing. Rather than merely having good intentions, get out there and DO something!

Just think. What would happen if everyone did this? That glimmer of hope would burn like a bonfire!

You don't have to have big money to make a big impact for better in this world. You just have to have big love. When people help one another, despair is relieved and comfort is found even among strangers.

I know you have a heart like that. Loving like that will heal you, and it will heal someone else, too.

xoxo

#bethechange #lovebig #DailyConquerorMoments #littleglimmerofhope

Q & A

Lisa Williams

Today's blog is more informational than inspirational. I've received a lot of questions about my current condition, including the Cowden protocol for Lyme. In the spirit of helping others gain understanding, here are some answers.

 

Q) I’ve heard that Lyme disease is no worse than a cold. Why aren't you well yet?

A) The bacteria that make up Lyme are quite stealthy. They can sense when their current environment is hostile to them, and when they do, they can build a hard cyst type of shell around themselves and live in the human body for years that way.

Lying dormant within the cyst, they multiply. Then, when they sense that it's safe to come out, they do so all at once, flooding the body with bacteria. Late stage Lyme is next to impossible to completely eradicate from the body because the bacteria can adapt and overcome many protocols, continuing to multiply.


Q) When and how did you get Lyme?

A) For me, Lyme began when I was just 12 years old when I was bitten by a Lyme carrier tick while camping with my family. However, back then we didn't know anything about Lyme disease because in the 60's it hadn’t been discovered yet.

As a kid and young adult, it seems there was always a bug bite, a rash, ticks and mosquitos. My family were and still are very outdoorsy kind of people. Our vacations included hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. There’s really no telling how many times I could've been bitten by a carrier tick, and thus, re-infected.

I was sick a lot as a kid and always, always fatigued. Doctors couldn’t figure it out, and I figured my friends just had way more energy that I did.

 

Q) When were you correctly diagnosed? How long were you sick before being diagnosed?

A) I was sick for about ten years, seeking answers and being told it was all in my head. Finally, in 2005 a good friend at work gave me the personal number of a doctor friend of hers. She had spoken with him the evening prior and he told her to have me call him at his home number. I phoned him that evening and he faxed me a checklist and some other forms to fill out and asked me to fax them back to him right away, so I did. He called me about twenty minutes later. He said that all of my symptoms were indicative of Stage III or Late Stage Lyme. I had no clue what that meant but I made an appointment and they ran some tests. They took a vial of my blood and sent it to IGeneX labs in Palo Alto, California for testing. They performed the most accurate test then available to determine Lyme disease, called The Western Blot test. All of the tests came back positive. My entire body was infected with Borrelia Burgdorferi, the bacterium that makes up Lyme disease. In addition to that, Borrelia’s two best buddies, Bartonella and Babeosis were present. This bacterium is like bullies that hang out together and their mission is to invade and live within the human body. They are smart, relentless and deadly. They multiply over time and can live everywhere inside their host. My immune system was barely functioning at the time and all of this bacterium had been slowly killing me and now that process had accelerated to the point that my entire body was shutting down.

 

Q) What is the Cowden Protocol for Lyme?

A)  The Cowden protocol is a holistic, step-by-step, do-it-yourself Lyme disease treatment protocol developed by Dr. Lee Cowden, M.D. through Nutramedix.

The protocol itself incorporates a multifaceted approach to treating chronic Lyme disease through powerful antimicrobials that work just as good, if not better, than doxycycline, by addressing the 3 anatomical forms of the Lyme bacteria (i.e., spirochetal, cyst-form, and L-form), co-infections, detoxification support for the brain, nervous system, liver, kidneys, blood, and lymphatic system, immune modulation, heavy metal removal, Krebs cycle support and energy support due to magnesium deficiency, biofilm dissolvers, and the removal of excess sulfur.

Q) Will you still be working at your charity, Little Glimmer of Hope Foundation?

A) Yes, we are still in operation, working to help people with Lyme disease in any way we can. However, my hours are more limited at this time. The best way to reach us is by emailing info@littleglimmer.com and one of our volunteers or I will get back to you within a few days. Thank you for your patience during this time.

 

Here’s to your health,

Lisa

xoxo

#DailyConquerorMoments

#LisaTheLymeConqueror

Hello World!

Lisa Williams

Hello World,

It’s been 476 days, 16 hours and 57 minutes since my last blog post.

That’s right, I’ve been a no-good-dirty-low-down-unfaithful-blogger-type-blogger. I've had two birthdays, was crowned Elite Mrs. Colorado in a beauty pageant, and went on to win an international title. I know, right?
 

My sincere apologies for not sharing this with you all before.

I have about a hundred reasons why I dropped the blogging ball, and even more excuses. As you read on, I’m hoping that you’ll forgive me. Pretty please with a big, fat cherry on top?

You see, I’ve also been beyond busy building a charity to help other Lyme warriors such as myself. Now that things are pretty much up and running, I’ve found, that I am not.

That’s right, I’m sick. Again. And it’s bad.

My Lyme doctor has me on a pretty strict protocol though, and the intent is to lower the bacteria level in my body once again, and of course, for me to live until my one hundredth birthday. And you’re all invited to my party. It’s going to be a sensation, the event of the century, really!

There’ll be a fabulous New York steak dinner, loaded baked potatoes, various salads and appetizers and Crème Brulee for dessert. Oh, and the best champagne money can buy! Hey, it’s not every day you turn 100.

And there'll be dancing. Even if I’m in a wheelchair, I have every intention to whirl around the dance floor with my husband like Fred Estaire and Ginger Rodgers all while wowing the crowd in an outfit that’ll have you ooh-ing and ahh-ing.

As for today-I’ve decided to forge ahead, even though, if I’m being honest I’ve wanted to do anything but that for the past two weeks or so. I actually considered giving up, but, when I considered how that might turn out, I opted to conquer. To live. (Whew!)

For the most part, conquering anything requires a fight of sorts, at the very least, determination must be present. Whether your fight is with an illness, addiction, a habit, anger, unforgiveness, sorrow, depression, something from your past, or one of a million other possibilities. It's going to take action to get unstuck.

Action to get free.

Action to move ahead.

Action to conquer.

I have been tempted to give up. I won’t.

You're going to want to give up at one time or another. Don't.

Just keep going. And it doesn't have to be a big theatrical, dramatic deal. Sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other is all the fight you need.

I have to believe that I’m still alive for many reasons and for purposes that I’m not even aware of yet.

Psalm 31:15 says that our times are in His hands.

Matthew 10:29 reads, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Heavenly Father noticing. But the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So, don’t be afraid because you are of more value than many sparrows.” 

That gives me hope, knowing that every single hair on my head is numbered by God. He loves me so much that He knows that detail about me. Psalm 91 says that he that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

We are God’s children, and we abide under the shadow. He pays attention to us, and none of the details of our lives are hidden from Him. If He takes the time to know how many hairs are on our heads, then surely, He knows the day that He will take us home to be with Him. I’m assured that just as God was aware of the day that I would be born, He is also aware of the date I will die. It won’t take Him by surprise, rather, He will be the one who orchestrates it.

There have been so many times in this battle with Lyme that I should have died, but didn’t. I have to attribute this to God’s protection over my life.  

My dad told me the story of something that happened to him after he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy. He was in his early forties, and he was working as an air-conditioning repair man. The unit he was working on was in a building that was several stories high. He had a very tall ladder leaning against this building and was climbing it to get to the unit that needed repair. There was no one at the bottom of the ladder holding it steady. As he was climbing, it began to wobble and fall over. 

He told me that in the very instant that it was falling, thoughts raced through his mind very, very quickly. He said he thought about tomorrow, if he was even going to have a tomorrow, and if his wife and children would have to carry on without him. Then, suddenly, the ladder stopped falling and just froze in midair for a few seconds as he clung to it. Then it moved back towards the building. My dad said that after that, he never doubted that God is the One who is in control of our destiny.

I believe this is true, and that’s why I’m not giving up. So, if I don’t meet you before then, I’ll see you at my one hundredth birthday party. Please be prompt.

#DailyConquerorMoments  

Fashionably fashionable

Lisa Williams

I simply adore the fashions that Grace Kelly wore, not to mention Lauren Bacall, Lucille Ball, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. Although these women were all old enough to be my mother, as a little girl I still felt I somehow belonged on the silver screen with them. Not as a childhood star, but as their equal, dressed as regally as they were. 

In regards to my love for all things vintage, my mother once joked that there might be a slight chance that I was born in the wrong era. I used to love tagging along with her and my grandmother to antique and thrift shops. I'd ooh and ahh at the antique furnishings and vintage baubles, but, I'd stand in amazement at the displays of vintage fashions.

Those really were the days. In my imagination they still live on. Women wore timeless, elegant outfits that flattered their figures rather than exposing them. It was an era of gloves, hats, and dresses that hit below the knee. And coiffed hairdos.  Men wore fedoras and overcoats. When they became a little miffed, they uttered phrases like "Now see here!" instead of dropping "F" bombs. Chivalry was not lost, gentlemen still opened car doors for ladies. Women still knew that sex appeal was a natural trait and not something to be forced by plastering on too much makeup and donning too little clothing.
 And the music of that era seemed to match the clothing like the perfect shirt and tie. The fashions of the 30's, 40's and 50's were as Nat King Cole would say, unforgettable in every way.

Those were the days when a shoe string laced up your PF Flyers, and was never confused with being a bathing suit.

Thankfully, there are still some clothing and shoe designers who have not given up class for money. My hat is off to those fine people and I thank them for giving us some classic, fashion forward clothing with which to express our own individual and unique style, all without sacrificing our own dignity just for some fad.

My husband once suggested that I go to design school. He said that one of the first things that attracted him to me was that I dressed like a real lady. Not frumpy or dumpy, but classy. I like knowing that he noticed.

For a long time over the past 11 years, I gave up wearing the type of clothing that makes me feel lovely because I felt anything but. Because of Lyme disease my body looked different and I was in constant agony because of the physical pain associated with Lyme. So, I usually wore sweats or pajamas. Until one day, my sweet husband bought me a new dress and insisted I go dancing with him. I didn't want to, simply because I had no strength left in my body. I was sure I would die soon and truth be told, I was in a very real fight for my life.

"Well then, let's go dancing in the living room. You used to love to go dancing. Come on, baby doll. I'll hold you and you can sit down if you need to."

I shower and fix my hair and makeup. I spritz on some perfume and paint some red lipstick on my mouth. I slip into that pretty red dress and slide my feet into some sexy black heels. He assists me to the living room and I'm already exhausted just from getting ready. He helps me into a chair and puts on some Nat King Cole.
And we dance. He moves his feet a little as he holds my hands and arms up as though I were waltzing right along on the floor with him.

"You look beautiful. Like Grace Kelly." he says. I know he means it so I smile and decide to believe it, too.

Little did he know how much his kindness meant to me, and how fashionably timeless his love is for this soul of mine.

He knows I cannot do without this kind of beauty, and even with Lyme disease threatening my existence, he knows that this is just what I needed. His kindness helped me to remember that I was born right on time, and that my life is beautiful, no matter how many days are left of it.

Here we are about 11 years later and he still buys me stunning fashions that make me feel pretty and he still thinks I ought to design clothing. What I hope I'm creating though, is a life that is generous and humble, beautiful and loving...because those things are the truly classic things that this world can never do without. Those qualities will always, always be in fashion.

xoxo

Coffee with a Side of Memories

Lisa Williams

It's New Years Eve 2015 and I wake up wondering if I've been successful at all this year. Why that's the first place my mind gravitates towards this morning is beyond me, but okay, I'll bite.

Have I been successful? What did I accomplish in 2015? Hummmm...

The voice of self-doubt immediately seizes her opportunity to deliver a one-two punch. 

If you have to ask yourself, Lisa, then maybe you aren't ahead of the game, triumphant, or on top whatsoever. Maybe you're just a big fat failure.

"Now wait just a dog gone minute here!" the voice of truth rings out loud because It has a quite a different story to tell.

Like soft rain in springtime, old memories drop by, settling in like an old friend who hasn't visited in a month of Sundays. It's as if they make themselves right at home. They check the fridge for snacks, pour themselves a cup of Joe, and sit with me for awhile. I'm not even sure I want these memories to hang out with me today, but for better or worse, they are here and bent on staying.

I'm gently transported back to the morning of January 1, 2015.

Happy freaking New Year. 

It's 2015 and I don't want to get out of bed. I want to find some rock, some hole to hide in. The world doesn't need me anyway. I had just booked yet another plane ticket the night before, in order to attend one more funeral. I can count on both hands how many that makes for the year.

Eight. Good God. Eight people in just over one year.

Really? Seriously, God? Jiminy Cricket! Just how much loss can one person or one family take? You know I'm broken and all spilled out up in here, right, God? How could you allow still another person to leave me? Just when I think I'm okay, someone else dies. Oh my God this hurt is breaking me clean in two! Can You help me? My mind feels fragmented- like a puzzle with the pieces misplaced, every one in strange and random places; tattered and torn up. They'll just never be found, I know it. If I didn't know any better, I'd say You are a cruel God. But...I do know better. I also know that death is simply a part of life.

Please help me not to come unhinged by all this loss. Maker of the stars and sea, please hold me together.

Just then the Bible on my nightstand catches my eye. I fumble with it a little, then I read that He is near to those who are brokenhearted.

He. Is. Near.
Nearer than the pounding in my frazzled, aching head, than the breath I'm trying to catch in between these unrelenting sobs.
Then the torrents of my sorrow break loose like a thunderstorm. I cry it out loud full throttle; this grief that clings to me closer than my own skin.

Are You nearer than this sorrow, Oh God? Are You? Well, are You? This mourning, will it last forever? Will I ever feel normal again? When will I be able to resume living, writing, loving?

New Years. Bah Humbug good riddance 2014. 2015 will you be kinder? I sit up in my bed and heave out a fractured sigh. It's morning already. I want to pull the warm covers back over my head but I force myself to wiggle out of them. I place my two feet on the floor and slowly make my way downstairs. Opening the back door to let my dog outside, a waft of frigid air strikes my face, making my eyes water. My face feels a bit numb after a moment and I wonder if it's possible to numb my emotions to all of this. I just don't have the wherewithal to keep grieving these losses and God knows If I hear the words "Grieving process" one more time I just might punch a wall or throw something or drop an "F" bomb or something just as unseemly. Grief is a relentless _________.

________

It's the last day of 2015. Whew! I made it. Not completely unscathed, but I made it. I pour myself a cup of coffee as I ponder this bitter side dish of memories.

Have I been successful? Or, did I just waste the entire year grieving? 
The question still looms over my head like a drone threatening to shoot me for no earthly reason.
Then, this simple realization tickles my brain: Grief is necessary to move forward. It's a propeller towards healing, growing, learning.

So, what have I learned in 2015? Have I healed any at all? Have I grown even a little?

Yes, and yes.
I've learned that the greater the love, the greater the grief. That's just the way it is, so be it. I have loved big, with all of my heart and I have grieved with the same intensity. I count myself fortunate to have loved so many people so very deeply.
I've learned that just because a person dies, the love does not. I've grown enough to understand that vulnerability is a beautiful thing, and that time doesn't heal all but it sure does help...that walking in the rain, hot cocoa, a hot bath, hugging, kissing and making love soothes the soul.
I found out that suffering can increase your faith, your hope, and your dreams.
It turns you inside out and reveals what you're really made of and what you're capable of. It can render you so helpless that you've got no other choice but to lean on other people and count on someone else rather than merely yourself. 
When you're broken, you find out who really and truly loves you. You learn how to just take one day, one step at a time and really appreciate the small victories and strides you make along the way...and that baby steps count, too.
I've learned that love is the healing balm, the cure all, for anything that ails you. Blowing soapy bubbles on a cloudy day is fun and giggling with children is a sweet elixir for the soul. 
I've found that ocean water and river water hold healing properties for the senses and that talking to a horse is better and cheaper than a therapist. I've heard blue birds sing as if just for me and the wind through the Colorado pines has whispered words of love and faith to my being.
I've learned that there is joy to be had in helping someone else and when you give generously from your heart, it makes everything better. Holding a puppy lifts your spirits and Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream cones were meant for sad days.
I've learned that our pain can bind folks together faster and stronger than just about anything, that our problems are doorways that connect us with other people, and that if this path we're on has no obstacles we will never grow, or go anywhere even remotely significant.   

This year has been a year of learning so much and hurting so bad and surviving such loss that I'm just not the same, and that's alright. We all have those seasons when we just have to grow, we've no other choice but to evolve and change.
I have grown, I've healed and I've learned and therefore, I'm successful because I'm sure that real growth, change and success can't be measured by the world's standard of cash in the bank or power obtained.

I've never wanted any of those things anyway. I want the kind of success that can't be measured by dollars and cents.

I've decided to make a difference, pray more, laugh out loud, play often, be kinder, work smarter, give generously, stay soft, keep writing, make new friends and visit old ones, dance a little and sing a lot.
and
I've decided to throw out last years left over pain. As Elsa so eloquently sang, I'll Let it go.
And I'll love, love, love bigger than ever before, with no holds barred because every single one of us needs it and I will be sappy and not care what anyone thinks because none of us is promised tomorrow.
I'm convinced more than ever before, that this is what real success is all about.

"I walked a mile with pleasure, she chattered all the way, but left me none the wiser with all she had to say.
I walked a mile with sorrow, never a word said she, but, oh the things I learned from her, when sorrow walked with me."
~Robert Browning

Happy New Year.

xoxo

Not today

Lisa Williams

I'm getting dressed for a Birthday party in late November that I'm not even sure I can attend. It looks and feels like Christmas outside and I really want to attend this celebration. However, my body is revolting just as it has before every other Christmas or Birthday party I've been invited to this winter. My body has bah-humbugged every last event by screaming in no uncertain terms to me, "NO! You shall not enjoy Christmas or any other event this winter! You are banished to the abyss of nothingness. You shall go nowhere and do nothing, thus shall be your holiday season!"

With every motion I make, my body feels heavier. I am so far beyond tired, there ought to be a page or two reserved just for me in The Guinness Book of World Records. "World's Most Fatigued Woman", yep that sounds about right.  
 I'm utterly drained of strength, yet I've done nothing today. Lyme does that. I don't know how, it just does, but I know that short of being hospitalized, I cannot cancel. It's too important and every last soul there is expecting me. My goal is to flat push through this fatigue like a John Deere. Truth is, my feeble attempts to navigate through this exhaustion is much more like one of those teensy Smart cars stuck in newly poured concrete.

I'm trying to go faster. Gah! I'm going to be late. My arms and legs just will not move as I'm demanding they should. I lift my arm with the intention of putting mascara on my blonde eyelashes. For a quick second I want to curse my Irish roots and ask the heavens why on earth I couldn't have been born with dark lashes that can actually been seen without black goop on them. I shake my head half with angst and half shaking cobwebs loose and trying to get my brain to focus. Now that I'm going to be far more than fashionably late, I chide myself with inevitable questions that I'm sure every "Lymie" asks themselves every now and again.

How many times have you cancelled on people in ten years, Lisa?
I can't even count.

How many times have you made your friends wait for you?
I still...I can't count. Oh ghost of condemnations past, please go away.

Because while I think two hours is sufficient time, (after all, it was that one day) clearly, today it's just not enough time for my frail chassis to prepare itself to be seen by and interact with other people, and I rather hate myself for it. Oh, I know I can't be held responsible for contracting Lyme, nor am I accountable for what it has done to me, but somewhere deep down in the Grand Canyon of my soul rests a relic of a thought. A thought that keeps telling me that by George, if I just try a little bit harder, I can somehow, magically be well. Only, today, my try along with my hope is as lost as lost can be and in the present darkness of this mad moment, I'm as sure as shootin' that there will be no recovery of it. Maybe, it is simply buried away along with all of my other numb emotions today and like an archeologist, I will have the tools to dig deeper and rediscover it tomorrow. 

But...not today.

Today I haven't so much as a teensy tiny glimmer of hope.

Mascara on. Praise the Lord and pass the hot buttered rum, my eyeliner is done now, too. Lipstick swiped across lips that are refusing to smile today. Maybe I will feel something smile worthy later, at the party... that is, if I make it there.

I can hear my husband in the garage downstairs. He's warming up the truck and I haven't got my boots on yet. It's his sweet and patient way of nudging me to hurry, except my hurry is absent and unaccounted for.

My hair is a rebellious mess. Where is my good hairbrush? I stare in the mirror at this half-curly-with-tendrils-and-half-straight-as-a-bone-hair-weirdness. I furrow my brow and scowl at my own reflection. I feel ugly. I used to feel pretty.

Not today. 

Thanks genetics. Thanks Mom for the bone straight hair and thanks Dad for the curly locks but, seriously, why couldn't I just have one or the other? I vehemently dislike this bad hair day so I decide to don a hat with shimmery little sequins on it. I slip on one boot, then the other and force my feet through invisible-molasses-in-winter-time to get myself downstairs. Upon seeing me, my husband quickly walks nearer, holds out his arms, and halfway whispers, "You look radiant and your hat has little bits of glitter on it, it reminds me of you, baby doll."

I smile and melt into his arms, resting nearly all of my weight onto his strong body. He holds me steady and asks if I can make it.

"I think I can, I think I can." I whisper to him and to the little glimmer of hope that has accompanied his embrace.

He settles me into the truck and fastens my safety belt over me, because he knows my cramping hands cannot do it for myself today, but he doesn't make a fuss over it. He just humbly does what needs to be done, reading my cues along the way.

"You'll do great today my darlin.'" he whispers again, knowing loud noise is going to hurt my head today. "And if you feel too weak, you can lean on me. If you need to leave, we'll politely make our exit. Deal?"

You know me so well. Deal, I think as I nod my head slightly. It hurts to move. I find this so unfair. Really, it just plain old should not hurt to move, but bah-humbug, it does.

___

An hour later we arrive at our destination and begin to see folks wandering into the lovely club house we've rented for this party. Balloons and streamers deck the halls and children are romping playfully while grown ups hob nob and collaborate with one another regarding the Christmas season.

I did it. I made it here. I get to engage in this happy day. The pain and exhaustion will not win.

Not today.

The little glimmer of hope grows a few sizes, rather like the Grinch's heart in Who-Ville.
I glance over at my husband and he nods knowingly; yes, she is alright for right now. Then, I fix my gaze, for longer than a few moments, on my grandson who just turned one and his father who just turned thirty and I can't look away if I tried, and I don't want to.

They are playing together and it's like a scene from one of those 1950's feel good movies that you just want to watch over and over again. It's a classic, the kind that makes you feel just a slight nip of sadness when it's over. The kind of scene you simply cannot stop watching and you suddenly crave popcorn.
I study every inch of their glad faces. I soak in their laughter like a sponge. The sound somehow reminds me of jingle bells in crisp, new snow and invigorates my spirit. My mind wanders back in time to 29 years ago when my baby was turning one and his big brother was nearly three.

My heart skips a beat, literally. For a split second I wonder if it's because Lyme has weakened my heart or if love has strengthened it in just this instant. Either way, it's welling up with pride and sheer bliss that I have lived through the worst of Lyme and I can experience this day.

My granddaughters and my other son join in this moment, unaware that I am mesmerized by them as I carefully attempt to memorize their every move. I want to freeze time somehow, I want my brain to take a snapshot so that I will never, ever forget this scene. The way their eyes sparkle and the movement of their facial muscles. The way my granddaughter's hair shines in the sunlight pouring through the window. The hearty laughs of both my grown sons mingles with the rolling belly laughs of their children. 

Then, my soul is illumined with the fact that I am gazing upon the very ones who will be here long after I am not. They will carry on my legacy. Now, I know this much is true:
This fight to be here... to be right here, right now in this place, was all completely and utterly worth every millisecond of pain or struggle.
Because this, this right here is my hope. This Super Nova, this oh-my-stars-glimmering-wonderment-of-hope is mine all mine. It's the pure, delicious love I delight in, the joy I swim in. I devour it all as I breathe it in and bask in the sweet presence of love so divine that It gives me strength. Then, for an hour or so, the fatigue that has plagued me all day takes it's own nap and I am free and unencumbered to be present in this exquisite gift of the right here and now.
I whisper thank you to my God and to the love in this whole wide world that seems to have settled upon me.

Oh yes, this love has fallen upon my brow, my body, my very heartbeat and the heartbeat inside of my heartbeat. It's like the snow that falls, dusting the tree branches outside, like sweet powered sugar falling from a euphoric sky.

Love has surrounded me like a warm blanket on this wintery day and it feels like Christmas.

I smile at the faces I haven't seen in so long, and I feel as though I will make it, not just through this day, but through this entire ongoing battle, this relentless war, this ever present contention with my vile enemy, Lyme disease.

Today it will not win. No, not today. Today I have glistening, shimmering, amazing-grace-filled-hope...and not a thing can take it away.

Not today.

 xoxo

Ashley, Avril, Daryl, Yolanda...and me.

Lisa Williams

Among my favorite things in this world are music and fashion. I don't mind a bit if you turn on some Hall and Oates and I'll get along just fine tapping my toes to the latest groove in a pair of Christian Louboutins. Both the music and the fashion are works of art that I don't want to live without.

The operative word here is "live".

Everyone of us just want to live this life of ours. We want to thrive and not just survive.

So what do I have in common with Ashley, Avril, Daryl, and Yolanda?
Ashley knows it's not in fashion.
Avril knows it's complicated.
Daryl was almost out of time because of it.
Yolanda knows it's more real than any Beverly Hills housewife.
And me...I'm a Lyme Warrior just like they are.

When your life is turned upside down, it's hard to let the rest of the world know about it, even when you're a celebrity. It's highly personal and you truly feel as though you're not yourself any longer. Lyme changes everything, and most of the time those changes are permanent. It takes a certain amount of time to learn how to navigate this whole new world. It requires courage to share your story with the rest of the world because, unfortunately there are people out there who are judgmental, some are committed to misunderstanding you and Lyme disease. Still others are just plain cruel about it all.

As for me, I'm just an ordinary woman. I'm not famous or popular nor do I have a gigantic following. I'm a human being though, and I am personally and intimately acquainted with the tragedy that is Lyme disease.  
That's exactly why I feel a connection to these beautiful people, because we're in the same war together. Some of us have had it worse than others, but we're all determined to win this battle and live to see all of the tomorrows that we possibly can.
I'm grateful that these celebrities have come forward to share their very personal struggles with Lyme because it gave me the courage to do the same.

Never underestimate the power that lies in telling your story.

"When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal someone else." -Iyanla Vanzant

So, I'm telling my story. Right here. Right now. In this blog and in my upcoming book due out in May 2016. I'm shouting it from the rooftops: "Lyme disease is horribly real, life altering and frightening, but it doesn't have to be a death sentence and there is NO requirement in allowing it to steal your joy or take over your life!"

Ashley, Avril, Daryl, Yolanda and untold thousands of other beautiful people, including myself, have all been to the brink and back, but, we're all still here and one by one, we're telling our stories in the hopes of bringing someone else back from the brink of despair, as well as doing everything within our power to prevent another human being from ever contracting Lyme.

So...
I will live my life! I will wear fashion that makes me feel beautiful, even on the days that feel so complicated. When Lyme makes me feel out of touch and out of time, I'll keep on keeping it real. I will carry on, and by God I will win and I will help others who are fighting in the trenches to win, too!

xoxo


#DailyConquerorMoments
#LymeDisease
#LittleGlimmerLymeFoundation

Stepping up to the Plate

Lisa Williams

When I was in the fourth grade, my elementary school teacher, Mrs. Wylie, organized a Mush Ball game for morning recess time. Each week she choose new team captains, who would then choose their teams. Every Monday morning just before recess, she would announce the week's new head honchos.

I stood there among the team captain hopefuls and with the eagerness of would be lottery winners, we cringed each time someone else's name was called. The suspense nearly made us pass out or at the very least scream. There we were, 25 or so, jittery, energy filled 9 year olds awaiting what we deemed to be the chance of a lifetime.

"Team Captain," can't you just hear the angels singing at the sound of that title? It rivaled any we had known thus far. Even if you were a no-name before, if you were picked by Mrs. Wylie for team captain, you gained popularity faster than your mom could cook instant Cream of Wheat.
I was never chosen for Team Captain, so I settled for just being picked for a team. The fear of rejection was the same as any other kids, but looking back I can see why nobody truly wanted me on their teams at first. I was the skinny girl, the toe head, the "dumb blonde." I was awkward and as far as anyone in my class knew, not very good at sports, especially "boy" sports.
Or was I?
What they didn't know was that my dad or sisters played "catch" with me most every evening. My cousin Steve and Uncle Bobby taught me how to pitch. My neighborhood had our own ball "teams" and we played ball quite often after school until the street lights came on. My cousins and I played ball together at picnics and other outings and we really liked it.
Still, I was usually picked last or not at all. I never even got the chance to bat, until one fateful morning. 
I can still remember that sunny day. I was finally up to the plate for the first time. The pitcher turned to his team and said "It's Claiborne, bring it in, she can't hit." Slowly the outfield players all walked in, expecting an easy out.

The pitch, the swing, the miss. No runs, no hits, no errors and I was afraid. 

My palms were sweaty. I looked around as if I was looking for a way out or a source of confidence or something. Anything.

From the corner of my eye I thought saw her. Then, I turned my head and clearly saw my big sister, Peggy, watching from afar. I knew she was rooting for me. She nodded. I nodded back. Then another ball was released from the pitchers arm as though gravity didn't exist. I swung as hard as my frail arms could swing.

I hit a home run and the crowd went wild. I imagine that might've been how Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle felt when they hit their first homer. After that, I was picked first by a team captain, every week. As I rounded the bases that day, I could hear my big sister cheering, as she jumped up and down. Then the entire team began to cheer, "Claiborne, Claiborne, Claiborne!"

They're chanting my name! Hey, I'm not such a bad player after all!

Today, I'm the pitcher and I'm pitching to you, my reader. Not only am I the pitcher, my calling has made me "Team Captain", but I'm afraid this position hasn't afforded me much popularity. You don't become super popular when you're asking for other people's hard earned money. Yes, I am asking, but not for myself.

How can I cause you to catch a glimpse of my vision?

I know there are so many causes, worthy causes, out there in the world and no doubt all of you see pleas for donations each day in your social media newsfeeds.

But...tonight, I'm weeping at the thought of one more person dying of Lyme disease.

Can you hear these cries? I know of that which I speak because it almost took my life in 2005. I was fortunate enough to have insurance, and, believe me, what insurance covers is merely a drop in the bucket of what it costs to overcome Lyme.
The IDSA (Infectious Disease Society of America) has guidelines on how they say doctors are supposed to treat Lyme. However, those guidelines are not only bogus, they are outdated. The guidelines haven't changed since the 80's. The IDSA, Big Pharma and insurance companies can't make money from Lyme when it is correctly treated. They say 3 weeks of antibiotics are enough, and that Late Stage Lyme doesn't exist. HOGWASH! When Lyme bacteria isn't caught early it multiplies within the body and over the months or years it becomes chronic and deadly.

It's taken me 10 years to get to the place I'm at today in regards to Lyme, and I still have to have treatment to stay alive. Three weeks worth of antibiotics would not have "cured" me, I may as well have eaten Skittles as medicine for that length of time.
Why does the IDSA do this, you ask? Because they love money more than people, so they instigated this evil to deny Lyme patients treatment and they target and shut down physicians that don't comply with their insane policies regarding Lyme treatment.
Since 2005, I have seen 7 different Lyme doctors, 5 of which were targeted and shut down by the "Big Wigs". They were threatened. "We'll pull your medical license," they were told. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the threats were more dangerous than that. When people love money that much, they don't care who lives or dies.
I'm a lot better than I was in 2005. I can walk now, I can travel, write, have fun and most of the time I can drive. Treatment days are still rough but I'm living and not dying.

I know some people that are not so fortunate. I want to help them, but I can't do it alone.

So, I'm doing what any self respecting Lyme Warrior would do. I'm starting a foundation to bring financial aid to those with Lyme who can't afford treatment. My husband Chuck and I mulled over the name and decided that everyone needs a little glimmer of hope to carry on when they're in the dark, thus was born the name The Little Glimmer Lyme Foundation. We're in the process of obtaining our 501 c3 status, but that doesn't mean we can't get crack-a-lackin' now. To learn more about what we do at Little Glimmer Lyme Foundation, please visit our website at www.littleglimmer.com

Please be patient with us. We're just getting started. Funds are low, but won't be low forever. If you know someone who needs help, please click the "contact" button on our website www.littleglimmer.com and shoot us an e-mail. We'll do what we can to help.

The bases are loaded, there are two outs and I've never been up to bat in this kind of World Series before. Please be like my big sister, and cheer me on. Please catch this vision and step up to the plate with me. I have to hit a home run with this, because it's not a game. It's life or death.

Together, we can win this. 
 xoxo

Waves of Grief, Waves of Love

Lisa Williams

In the past seven months I've said goodbye to eight people that I absolutely, positively love with all that I am. To say I miss them all horribly is an understatement of grand proportions. I'm still not sure how I get through from one day to the next without dying myself of utter brokenness. I'm always a little bit surprised at the end of the day when I'm still here.

My heart is crushed to the extent that I'm not quite sure if it still has the capacity to hold love. Whatever love that was in me feels dead or like it's leaking out through the cracks in my soul.

I've learned that grief can be absolutely exhausting. It seems to come in waves. Some are negotiable while others are impossible to navigate and make you feel as though they'll swallow you whole. They curl you up and wring you round and round like dishrags in a washing machine. Just when you catch a swift gasp of air, the undertow of it all sucks you right back down again. You're tired of swimming in it but grief doesn't care. It's relentless. It beats against you and wears you out. You're freezing cold. You're all alone, drifting wild. You're lost and it feels like your whole body is growing numb and you're about to sink. Your mind is cloudy and you're unsure of everything.

What's even real anymore?

How do I know if I'll ever be on solid ground again?

When will I be able to breathe again?

Then someone calls you or sends a note.

Someone holds you in an embrace that seems to press the broken pieces of your being back together like clay.

A friend brings a meal and sits with you for a while. 

The comfort that exists within the love of real friends enters in like a beam of sunlight after the hurricane. Love is the light house in the dark, dismal abyss of emotional turmoil. Love comes in waves, too, but these waves won't destroy you.

Love throws you a lifeline and gives your soul CPR. My lungs can expand again. My heart is beating. Love is healing and although it doesn't take away all of the pain, it stands beside you, enabling you to see a little glimmer of light and feel something else, anything else, besides sorrow. My eyes are opened once again to the possibility of joy and my spirit is refreshed with an internal knowing that there really is something more to this life than grief.

I'm going to make it.
 

One step, another step...and yet another baby step. I'm doing it. I'm going forward. It hurts like hell but I'm coming out of this darkness. I see one thin ray of hope and I will hold onto it.

All is not lost.
 

Please never underestimate a simple act of kindness. A touch, a hug, a kiss on the cheek. A meal, a card, a song, or simply standing in silence with the one who is grieving is quite possibly the best gift you can ever give to another human soul.

Knowing that my tribe knows me so well and I don't have to offer any explanations or apologies for my tousled emotions, is a gift so divine.

I may not be done grieving for quite some time, but I am determined to untangle myself from this dark web of sorrow and I will keep living, not just existing.

I am quite sure I have my God, my family, and my friends to thank for that. 

I'm so grateful.

  xoxo

Conquering one step at a time

Lisa Williams

I'm inside a tube.

I'm inside a big, white, hollow tube thingy.

I have a mask over my face that makes me look like a linebacker. They gave me music to listen to via earplugs that is supposed to help lessen the deafening noise of this machine. It seems that somewhere in the distance I can hear Sweet Home Alabama under the banging, clanging and beeping, but barely.

My body is inside of a big, white, hollow tube because they are looking for the reason or reasons why I've been passing out, having seizures, and generally feeling like everything around me is spinning or shifting nearly all of the time.

It's really loud in here and these earplugs aren't all that and a bag of chips. And my face itches. Of course it itches when I'm not allowed to scratch it.

A tumor could be in my head? I do not need another health issue, God. I mean, you know this, right? Lyme is quite enough. I'm sorry, God, I don't mean to be sassy or make demands on you, but, seriously? Oh God, I know that you're kind and I know, that you know, that I've been through the mother of all wringers over the past 10 years. Could you please let this not be a tumor?

These past few months of my life have contained days upon days of one medical test after another. I swear the phlebotomists are secretly vampires. There's no way they need that much of my blood for these tests. Yep, vampires. Blood sucking villains that would put Edward, Bella and the entire cast of Twilight to shame. 

Today, laying inside this claustrophobic noise machine, I still don't have all of the results yet. What I do know according the results that I do have, is that 10 years after the initial diagnosis of late stage Lyme Disease, I am still no better. I have not advanced, in fact, I am worse off than when I began the very first treatment. Lyme has invaded and I am still at war with this monster.

But, I fought so hard! I've done everything I was supposed to do! I was supposed to be better by now, dammit! 

Dear God, I'm sorry for the swear word, but, it seems to me that there's just no other word that will do. Lyme is a damned awful disease from the pit of hell.

I have not advanced.

Not. One. Little. Bit.

Doctors have managed to keep me alive and that's about it.

Alive. Alive to do more than just feel physical pain and limitations all of the time, right? Alive...to actually live, right?

Just wait one little minute here! How am I supposed to plan absolutely anything in my life when I don't know if I'll be alive next week or not?
But...wait a sec. None of us knows what tomorrow might bring. I could die today or on my 100th birthday.

It's good when you have a sense of where you're headed on life's journey, but it's not imperative.

What? You've gotta be kidding me!

Abraham had no idea where God was leading him, but at the command of God, he got up and went.
Hebrews 11:8 (NAS)  By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.

We walk by faith, not by sight. If we could see ahead of time every step we were to make, we would have no need of faith in God or ourselves at all. God is the only one who sees the entire journey, and we are not required to see every step we are to take, only to take them.
It's important to note that when Abraham went to where he was called to go, that not everyone he knew went with him. Not everyone could because not everyone had the same call on their lives that Abraham did.

Get this clear in your thinking: Where you are called to go, not everyone can go with you. Your journey, your cadence is just that; Yours.

It's not that your cadence is better than anyone else's or that walking it makes you a better person than anyone else is. It's just different. All of us are on different journeys in this life and sometimes, to get to where we are going, we have to leave certain things and certain people behind. It doesn't mean we don't love and care for those people. We do. It just means they can't tag along on the cadence to which you are intimately called to walk. Certain activities can't tag along, either.

Certain people and certain activities just do not belong on your journey. Let them be and follow your own calling towards your own destiny.

Certain activities, attitudes and habits have to be taken off so to speak, like an old coat whose fabric has lost it's weave and buttons, and thus, it's warmth and usefulness. Don't hesitate to remove the old garments that are worn thin. You may have gotten used to the old ways, comfortable in them. The new seems odd to you, but the new is exactly what you need.

The newness, embrace it all, put it on like a new outfit, even if it seems odd to you at first. You will find that it's necessary and it will bring color and function to the stark, dull places in your journey.

Your journey is as unique as you are and the difficulties you encounter along the way have the capacity to connect you with other people that you would never have been connected with otherwise. Some of these connections serve purposes that haven't even crossed your mind yet. Some people needed you to cross their path, and you need them just as much.

So you don't know where this journey will ultimately lead you? Neither does anyone else, but you can't go backwards and you can't stand still for too long or you risk getting stuck.

Leave the baggage behind. Let go of everything that impedes your progress.

I'm letting go of the doubt, the fear, the complaining. I'm going forward. I will keep fighting, no matter what.

Go forward, one step at a time, even if you don't know where you're going. Just take one step, then another, then another.

See? You're making progress already.

 xoxo

To My Warrior Sons

Lisa Williams

To my Warriors,

My sons,
I don't know what it's like to be a man, much less a man who went to war. A man who has had to see, hear and do things that no human being should ever have to. I will always love my freedom, but I know it could never mean as much to me as it does to a combat veteran, since I have never had to fight or bleed for it.

I've never had to defend myself, my comrades, or my country from terrorism. It’s never been a requirement for me to have to be physically stronger, mentally sharper, or stealthier than my foe.


Until now. Enter Lyme disease. As cruel a terrorist as they come.

I've never heard the sound of bombs or sirens that accompany them. I’m a stranger to gunshots and the inertia of bullets swishing past my face. But now, I’m familiar with another sort of battle.


I’ve no clue as to the feelings of loneliness and separation of my unit when it was time for me to go back home to a place that didn’t feel like home anymore.

Am I still a soldier?

Am I supposed to be a civilian now?

Does anybody hear me? Does anyone care?

How can they possibly understand me now, or what I’ve been through?

Why am I alive and my friend isn’t?

 Where do I even go from here?  

 All I understand is the Mama's perspective because that's the only perspective I could possibly know.  But after losing a friend to the ravages of Lyme, I’m now asking why she died and I am still left to fight. I feel a sense of what survivor guilt is like.

I understand the sleepless nights and restless days of being a war mom. I remember the numb, hollow feeling as the clock ticked by so slowly while I was waiting to learn if you were still alive. I was linked with the deep frustration and pain of no longer being able to protect you. I've felt the hot tears of sorrow and anger stream from my eyes.

Even if I could have protected you from all that war is and does to a person, you wouldn’t have wanted me to.

When you were born, I made promises to you. One of them was a promise to respect you for who you are and I want you both to know that I still do.

I accept your rough-post-war-nature, your defensiveness at times and the nature of your contention and I promise to do my best to understand you, both during the times when you let me into your world, and when you don’t or can’t.

I love your laughter and the joy in your eyes at everyday victories, even when I see your invisible scars. I respect their tenacity and what they stand for.

I will never say “I know how you feel”, because…I couldn’t possibly.

Letting the military have you for all those years is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Letting go like that, becoming an empty nester that way was brutal on my heart. The boys they sent to war are not the men that came home, and how could you be...it would be impossible for something of that magnitude not to change any one of us.

 It changed you forever; I understand that and I accept it.

I want you to know that I love who you are. You’re still my child. No war can ever change that or erase the fact that my own body was your home for 9 months.

See, I've known you since before you can remember, and I still see you. You’re like a window to me, even when you try to appear all tough to the rest of the world…I see past all of that. I can see past every last label that the rest of the world has so flippantly slapped on your back. I will always know the you that they never will and I accept you for exactly who you are. No matter what.

Your heart used to beat inside of me, along with my own heart, so, I believe that this process of motherhood is a lifelong one.

I’ve made and will continue to make mistakes along the way and although you’re grown now, and self sufficient…I’m still here, for anything you may need, even if it’s pancakes at midnight.


I know that I did my best to prepare you for whatever you'll experience now…and by the way, you’re doing a great job.
 

You give me strength even when you’re unaware of it, and, I guess this is how I know that I will conquer this battle with Lyme Disease or any other foe that comes my way…because I raised you. I figure that if I raised two warriors…and if I raised young men who are conquerors, then I can be one, too.
 

I guess I’m saying that I promise to always be here for you as long as I have breath in me and I promise to keep on doing my best to win my own personal war. I promise that all the promises I ever made to you are still in effect. They still mean something. They still hold value and truth.
 

But I still don’t promise that I won’t cry. That's one I could never keep, anyway.

xoxo

#dailyconquerormoments

Fight to Live Another Day

Lisa Williams

In 2004 I was ambushed by an invisible enemy. An enemy so evil that most people thought I was lying about it or at least exaggerating. This terrorist was so stealthy, he didn't even give up his identity until almost a year later.


This deadly assassin was called Lyme Disease.

 
When a person receives a diagnosis of a life threatening illness, it's like you’ve been ambushed. An ambush is a long-established military tactic, in which the aggressors (the ambushing force), take advantage of their own concealment and the element of surprise to attack an unsuspecting enemy from concealed positions.

By definition, the ambush contains the element of total surprise, which means the victims of the ambush have no knowledge of how it has been constructed, or of what measures may have been employed to prevent escape.
 

I had definitely been ambushed. With no clue how a person even got Lyme, and zero knowledge of what it was, I foolishly thought I could reasonably ignore my symptoms for a little while.

I ignored a rash near the base of my skull.
 

I thought my flu like symptoms were merely that, the Flu.
 

I ignored increasing joint and muscle pain.
 

I ignored small indications of short term memory loss, explaining it away as stress or lack of sleep.

I ignored blaring head and eye pain until I just couldn't anymore. 

I saw the eye doctor four times for multiple eye problems, but, when my eyes felt like they were on fire I suspected it was more serious that I had previously thought. During my last visit to her prior to a correct diagnosis of Lyme, she told me the tissues in my eyes were coming apart. She said it looked like someone had taken a straight pin and poked holes in my corneas. She explained that she could not continue prescribing steroid eye drops or I'd be at risk for developing cataracts.

Lisa, this just isn't normal. Do you have an auto immune disorder?

No, not that I know of, at least.

I want you to see a doctor right away, Lisa. Give me your word. This is serious!

I will.

I did see my doctor and I was told there was nothing wrong with me, so I got a second opinion. These well meaning physicians almost had me convinced that whatever was wrong with me was all in my head. One thought that if I just took an antidepressant, I would be all better. But I wasn't depressed. I liked my life.

No, I was sick, not sad.

Then the day came when I couldn't remember where I lived, how to do my job and eventually, I forgot who I was.  
 

I saw a physician who knew what I might be facing. He had me tested for Lyme with the most accurate test available, called The Western Blot Test.

All of the tests came back positive. I had Stage III Lyme and it had crossed the Blood-Brain Barrier, causing amnesia and other serious problems.

Ambushed.

Thrust into an ongoing war without my consent.

Hey wait just a doggone minute! I didn't enlist for this!

My life was on the line and I was so sick that I didn't even know how sick I was.

The one thing about being ambushed that has been proven by the experience of war is that the only likely method of survival is withdrawal from the killing zone by “the way you came in.” All other routes out of the killing zone may be blocked, and in a very well-planned and well-executed ambush, even the “back door” will have been closed by the time the ambush is sprung. The published military doctrine is “immediate, positive, and offensive action” against the ambush.

The value of withdrawal is the preservation of the force to “live to fight another day” and this is one of the things I decided I must do, but, how could I fight when I couldn't even remember my own name for longer than a few hours at a time?

My brain feels like it's dying one cell at a time. I'm trembling so much, all the time. I can't feel my legs. I feel like I might die today.

No, sweetheart, you won't die. Stay with me. Fight.

Are you sure?

You will live and not die.

But...nothing is clear. I can't make sense of anything, even television. It's confusing to me because I can't remember what happened just five minutes ago on the screen. Oh God please take this pain away or take me home!

No! You will live and not die. Say it.

I will live to fight another day.

Don't give up.

I won't give up. I promise.


I can remember foggy mornings in my city when I was a little girl. My sisters and I would stand on the front porch to determine how far we might be able to see. It was not uncommon for there to be zero visibility. We couldn't see our own mailbox at the end of the driveway or the house across the street. We called it "Pea Soup Fog".

Zero visibility. That was my brain on Lyme.

 

I withdrew from my job, my church, my family, and my friends in order to survive, and with the help of three of the nation’s top Lyme disease specialists, I took action to survive the ambush.

I withdrew from work after being told how serious this illness was. My co-workers seemed very understanding and although I missed my job, I just couldn’t do it anymore. 

I withdrew from my church because I didn’t have the physical strength to attend anymore. Although everyone on the pastoral staff was all very supportive and kind after my diagnosis, there were some people attending the church who were sure to tell me that they knew that I was some horrible sinner, and that’s why I was sick. One woman, who called herself my friend, was even sure to tell me that if I hadn’t detected the sin in my own heart that was making me sick, I just wasn’t looking hard enough. Another woman, who also called herself my friend, thought that she was doing me a favor by letting me know that if I didn’t get up off my butt and get well, my husband would leave me.

That was when I began to read the book of Job from the Bible, and I was comforted, because I knew that I wasn’t the only one who had ever gone through something like that. What I’ve been through with Lyme disease isn’t even a fraction of the trial that Job went through, but in spite of everything that he went through, in the end, he was still sure to express his gratitude to God. In the end, God had restored to him everything that the enemy had stolen. That gives me hope and it should give you hope, too.

I withdrew from my family a bit simply because I didn’t want to frighten them with how sick I was. Both of my children, Michael and Andrew were in the military and had now been deployed. They were soon going to be fighting on the front lines of war. I never told them how sick I was because I knew that they needed to keep their wits about them, and I didn’t want their worrying over me to be a possible reason for them not returning home. 

I withdrew from my friends, because I didn’t want them to see me in that condition, but it was in that precise condition that I found out who my real friends were. There were those who would come over just to pray over me. There were those who would come to bring meals and clean house. Then there were those who would come to visit me simply because I didn’t have the strength to come to visit them.
The only person in my life that I never withdrew from is my husband. My husband’s loyalty and faithfulness helped get me through this dark time. Chuck stood fast by my side through multiple hospitalizations, grueling treatments, and endless tests. When I didn’t even know my own name, he would gently remind me. When the foggy state of my mind was overwhelming to me, he would hold me close and remind me that everything was going to be all right. When I said “I feel like I’m going to die”, Chuck would encourage me to proclaim that I would not die, but that I would live to fight another day. When my life's cadence slowed down to what felt like a crawl through wet cement, Chuck took my hand and walked with me through it. I never would have made it without him.

Many people think that to retreat means to give up. Not in this case. I had to withdraw in order to redirect my steps, my energy and my life towards a place of healing. I never withdrew from the battle or tasks at hand. I stayed within the ambush just long enough to fight my way out of it's grasp. From deep within the battle zone, I fought with all my might.

I fought to live another day.

Lyme disease is an evil that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, except maybe some terrorists. Once you test positive for Late Stage Lyme, it doesn’t go away without a miracle. You always have to stay on top of it, making sure the bacteria level within your body is low enough for you to live. This disease has caused irreversible damage to certain functions within my body, but through it all, I have refused to give up or to allow such an ambush to steal my joy.

Yolanda Foster, (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) has Lyme Disease. She was showing improvement, but is reported to have relapsed. In the midst of her battle, she was quoted as saying these words, which I agree with 100%.

I am a firm believer that God often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad of our greatest calling...

I can attest to the fact that this battle with Lyme has indeed launched me into the greatest calling of my life.

Writing.

Speaking.

Inspiring, helping, and encouraging people by pointing the way for them towards overcoming and conquering their own giants. Many times in this battle, I've thought that I was making progress towards healing and remission, only to find that the light at the end of the tunnel was, in fact, an oncoming train. Thankfully, it didn't mow me down.

I've decided to be the one doing the ambushing from now on.

 

I will ambush others with kindness.

I will ambush the world with love.

I will ambush my own recovery, joy, goals, and mission.

I will live. With joy, passion, purpose and deliberation.

I will fight to live another day.

xoxo

#dailyconquerormoments