I still grieve for the person I was.
I still search for her daily.
I get filled with anger.
She abandoned me.
Even when I look into the mirror, I can’t find her. I can’t find the mom of 3 boys who ran 4 half marathons in a years time. I can’t find the runner who became a road warrior. I can’t find the teacher who taught full-time for over 10 years. I can’t find the daughter who fought every single day not to become a chronically ill mother liker her own. She’s just not there and she may never be again…
It’s been almost two years since my battle with Lyme disease began. As I try to reflect upon my journey, the tears stream down my face. Tears of grief. Tears of loss. And, believe it or not, tears of hope.
My nightmare began with a red bull's eye rash on my stomach. I never saw a tick and instantly assumed it was a spider bite. I drew a circle around the rash and kept my eye on it. It never got bigger, but it didn’t go away. About a week later, I had flu-like symptoms (in the summer) and weird heart palpatations. However, they were gone almost as soon as they started.
Over the next month, I watched myself decline slowly. I was so tired that even everyday tasks were a challenge. My runs were getting harder and harder. The heart palpations came back, and I started to experience neuropathy. My entire arm would go completely numb. My hands and lymph nodes swelled, and my joints would ache. Eventually, I ended up in the hospital.
After one test, I was misdiagnosed with chronic passive congestion of the liver, and the doctors were stumped. The only cause of congestive liver is heart failure, and I had zero symptoms that supported this diagnosis. At the age of 35, I had every test imaginable done on my heart only to find out that my heart was actually in pretty impressive shape.
After leaving the hospital with no answers, the decline in my health was rapid. My life revolved around getting back to bed. There were many days spent on the bathroom floor. My body had become my enemy and life had become a battle just to survive.
After fighting the unknown for 6 months, I was so desperate for an answer that I almost didn’t care what the diagnosis was. I just wanted a solution. I wanted to form a plan. I had no idea I was opening Pandora’s box…