I threw myself a pity party the second half of last year, complete with ugly streamers and a cake on which I had scrawled, “My life will never be the same.” I sat at the head of the table and cried (because I can cry if I want to, right?). The pity party wasn’t unwarranted. My body wasn’t cooperating. The escalating pain of Lyme disease made daily tasks feel like I was sitting down to finish a massive dissertation with writer’s block and broken fingers. I just couldn’t do them. And the thought of doing them made me anxious. Anxiety made my lungs, joints, blood pressure and numbness much worse. And … you get the picture. I’m glad you didn’t come.
Side note: Lyme disease originally made me think of Irene from The Real World Seattle. This definitely added a little flare to the dark festivities. (If you are too young to get the reference, it was a dramatic season.)
I silenced my self-pity recently after reading about a woman with multiple sclerosis (or the great imitator, our friend Lyme disease) that completely changed the course of her disease with an incredible attitude and perseverance. Despite being hospitalized, she did push-ups at the end of her bed and had sandbags brought in for weightlifting. Her bravery lit up my computer screen. THIS, I thought, is why I love google. I’d forgotten how to be brave. I’d wrapped myself so tightly in a blanket of fear that I had suffocated and lost perspective.
I started to remind myself that I had been living with Lyme for a long time, and I’d managed to cope without doing anything to actively fight it. The thought gave me strength. With a firm diagnosis, I had all the potential in the world to rid my body of its nemesis. I started picturing my white blood cells as tiny white ninjas slicing spirochetes with big cheesy swords. The image made me laugh, but also provided a good visual on which I focused when I felt powerless.
While the big pity party is over, I still have setbacks. The other day I definitely threw some ugly streamers in my party hat until my dear friend reminded me that “life unfolds in ways we could never have imagined … you are perfect just as you are and abundance is all around.” I look forward to reminding everyone else I encounter on difficult journeys that this beautiful statement is true for all of us. Get ready to read some amazing stories.