After years of searching for why I was always in pain, I was finally correctly diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease when my hands decided not to work anymore and I decided not to accept my current diagnoses. Initially, it was dismissed as early onset osteoarthritis and lupus. Then when I was told I had Lyme disease, I thought finally with the correct diagnosis, I would be better in no time flat.
I was wrong.
If you don’t know much about chronic Lyme disease, I’ll leave the description to having arthritis, lupus, MS, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, severe chronic fatigue, ADD and dyslexia all rolled into one. I couldn’t get out of bed, I had a hard time driving, I couldn’t take care of the kids or home, I forgot where I parked at the grocery store, I got lost on the way home, I couldn’t find the words to speak and I forgot what I was saying before I even finished a sentence. The best part for my husband was that if we got in a fight, I would lose my train of thought mid-way through my sentence. It sure ended a disagreement quickly.
Now, I could go on and on about how upsetting it is that Lyme has no set protocol and how the medical community is still arguing about whether or not the disease even exists in its chronic form. I could tell you about all the days that I spent crying on the bathroom floor wishing my life was over and that God would just take me so I could end my suffering. I could also tell you about how lonely it was to have an invisible disease around people who didn’t understand because they couldn’t see anything wrong with me.
But what I really want to talk about is what I learned from having a disease that made me want to die almost every day of my life. I used to think that the reason I went through the pain of Lyme disease was so that I could become a master herbalist and “save the world” of this horrible disease.
I was wrong again.
What I found out through telling my story over and over again is that I really want people to live a life of no regrets. When I would cry in bed, I was crying because of the loss of my life, not because of my pain. I would look back in bitterness and wonder if this really was all there was left. I had a bucket list of things to do and I felt like I would never get to them. I thought I was destined to watch my children grow up from the view from my bed. And while I would cry, I would also think of all the times I sacrificed myself for others. I tried to be the wife I thought my husband wanted and I tried to be the kind of daughter my mother wanted. All the time, I squelched myself and thought that I was going to be loved more.
I was wrong yet again.
Squelching myself through my life and not allowing myself to be who I wanted to be created a big void in my heart and a bitterness and anger towards the people I thought I was doing it all for. I let my husband pick the house he wanted, I folded the towels in thirds for him instead of quarters like I like them folded. I went after corporate success to make my mother proud. I said yes to all the friends who needed me to help them do this or that and pushed my schedule aside. I didn’t get more love. I didn’t find more success. I didn’t feel fulfilled. It drained my life and all I found were regrets that flooded my mind as I reflected on my life.
I know we each have purpose and greatness within us, but society has taught us to be a certain way to be accepted. We squelch our true selves for whatever reason we feel we should. In the meantime, we create a life for ourselves that is unfulfilling, meaningless and full of regrets.
What Lyme disease taught me about life was to live it with no regrets. I am so much better now after using my herbalist training and other natural methods. Please, if you have chronic Lyme disease, don’t lose hope of getting better! I wish for everyone not to have to go through something so huge that it makes you reflect like I did, but I also see my experience as a blessing because now that I’ve gotten a second chance at life, I’m bound and determined to make sure that I live my purpose, be my true self and not waste time with meaningless junk.
It’s my turn now — no regrets. Now go make it your turn too!