Sunday, October 16, 2011

Beyond the Boardwalk

Lyme disease is extraordinary in its capacity to utterly ravage a human being, to take every worldly thing we take for granted, away. I have seen the faces of doctors contort with dread in the face of this diagnosis. I have known people to lose their spouses, families, and friendships on account of it. Careers and jobs along with income and then homes have been lost to the debilitation rendered by this disease. The multiplicity of symptoms and effects Lyme can produce within a single individual can cause a person to appear mad when presenting their list of woes to medical professionals as well as those closest to them in an attempt to gain some aid, cooperation or relief. The illness is long and is never really cured. Insult is added to injury in bearing the burden of widespread social ignorance and disagreement within the medical community. Moreover, we live wondering what’s going to happen from day to day inside of us, not knowing when we will ever begin to get better, when illness will stop manifesting in so many ways, when it is Lyme or something else that is wrong with us, knowing that even if Lyme is not the root cause, it’s going to make whatever else we get much worse, for as long as we live.

That said, as I have mentioned before, for me, it is one of the greatest things ever to happen. I harbor this sentiment, I believe, in a manner similar to a veteran’s fond remembrance of his or her formation as a soldier. While it was breaking me down, it was rendering me malleable in the hands of the One to whom I had given myself to form me in holiness. Throughout, I have trusted His choice of ways and the spiritual exercises He has called me to engage, and though I am not quite a saint, I am closer in my becoming than I was before illness.

When I began this blog in April, I intended to wade through the days with you, focused on the business of getting through one after the other, offering the support of a fellow Lyme sufferer and a sort of spiritual touchstone by which to grasp and remember the blessings to be found in illness itself, as that which brings us ever closer to Christ. Yet it seems I have come to a place where the days are not what they used to be… they are not what they were in year one, two, three or four as I am now five months into year five. I have heard from others, it was the fifth year that brought them to a place where they could begin to recover a life that resembled something they had once lived prior to Lyme disease, and it seems this is happening for me. So, it may be that I am blogging now, not only to utter reminders of blessings, but to offer hope.

Before this, I never thought I would have a day ever again where I did not experience at some point in it, crushing exhaustion with or without exertion. I never thought I would be able to eat a cookie again, without my brain swelling, the room spinning, and my thoughts dampening. I never thought I’d fit into my favorite jeans again… and that’s a weight gain I’m talking about! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the image of health I was before infection, but I am now entering a time where I can get by in ways I have not been able to for years. While I still cannot go the length of the boardwalk without stopping to rest a few times, I can actually make it to the boardwalk and walk without fear of getting stranded, unable from enervation to make it back to where I began. You see, there was a time when I could not even have ventured to try. And though my head is still ringing, and my muscles are not as strong as before, my stamina is improving both physically and cognitively which is opening up a new palate of possibilities for the future… hence, the poem of last Wednesday.

For awhile now, I’ve been traversing and pondering this transition toward something new, which I first remarked on in the August post entitled, “A New Season.” Living four and a half years through changing phases of chronic illness, I am tentative in issuing any proclamations of wellness. Yet my life itself is moving toward a change; I am simply following the promptings of the One who is leading me, to whom I have entrusted myself. I don’t know what’s going to happen from here on, but I hope that my journey brings you hope…

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