You Can Get Better
So I’m just gonna come right out with this, because of course I can’t help but ask myself, what did I *really* need to hear when I was super sick? …when I was so far down the rabbit hole I could hardly drag my sorry ass out to a bookstore, could hardly process information from a book, let alone stand in line and pay for it!? What could’ve helped? Well, that’s easy. It would’ve been this:
You can get better.
And it would’ve been especially helpful if I was being told this simple truth by someone who had actually done it themselves. Someone who’d made it out the other side. Someone who had, for the most part, regained their health and had a life beyond Lyme and all its co-infection rat-pack gangsters. Someone with at least one foot in the ‘normal-healthy’ world.
Ok, so maybe it would’ve also been helpful to hear this too:
a) Keep telling yourself you can get better. Surround yourself with people who can tell it to you for you, because it’s going to be hard, you’re going to forget, and sometimes you’ll just flat out refuse to believe it. And it’s going to take a long time. A really long time.
b) Did I mention it’s going to take time? It’s going to take time.
c) Your attitude (this word isn’t quite right) is going to play a seriously big role in your recovery. More about this later. But in the meantime, stop googling “Lyme disease” and start googling “Lyme disease success stories”. Seriously. It’ll change everything.
But back to my point. Really, you can get better. Maybe even all better. I don’t know. But it won’t always be like this. It won’t always be as shitty as it probably is now. There was a time when I never thought I would get better, a time when I wished I didn’t care about my family so much so that I could just take my own life and be done with it all. But that’s the not the case anymore. No siree.
The Day I Was Diagnosed
The day I was diagnosed with Lyme was one of the happiest days of my life. Of course it didn’t start off that way. I remember that day being a bit of an event. Like most appointments back then, there was a lot of anticipation leading up to the appointment: my partner had taken the morning off work to come along, my mother (in all of her fear, and also a nurse) had given me a laundry list of things I absolutely had to discuss (ask about this, be sure to mention that), and of course I was battling my own angst over knowing I needed to be more of a squeaky wheel – so not my style.
I really liked this doctor, Dr. D. I felt like he saw me for the smart intelligent person I used to be, and that he believed I was truly sick and not just some hysterical young woman with emotional problems. But despite being very caring and committed to my case, I knew Dr. D. was growing more and more frustrated and I just hated that I was going to have to complain about more problems, new symptoms….
He entered the examination room in a fairly good mood, let me list off my new concerns, and then he calmly said, “Well, I have some interesting news. Your Igenex test came back positive. You have Lyme disease.”
*Seriously pregnant pause*
Now you have to understand that at this point I had completely abandoned the thought that one little test result would come back clearly indicating what was wrong. I’d stopped hoping, believing it would ever be that simple… which is sad, but just plain ole true. So all of a sudden, as if by divine intervention, or magically witchy ways, I actually had a diagnosis. Holy shit there was a name for it. At the time, this meant half the battle. Now we knew what was wrong. Next we fix it.
I remember driving down the DVP, sun shining, windows down, singing at the top of my lungs, “I have Lyme disease” to the tune of Sweet Caroline. And then I called everyone I knew.