Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Girl Without A Pony Is Like A Tick Without Borrelia Burgdorferi

All of my life, horses have been magical to me. At a very young age, I started begging my parents for a pony. Sadly, sticking a pony in our tiny backyard (within the city limits) wasn't doable, or legal for that matter, but my poor broken heart couldn't fathom why my parents would choose to torture me by denying me my heart's desire of having my very own pony.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I finally got my foot in the door (er, gate) to the world of horses. I convinced my husband to let me take (very expensive!) riding lessons. Once a week, for one hour, my lifelong dream of being atop a real live horse came true!

I quickly noticed that something peculiar would happen when I was on the horses. When I was riding, if I was sick, my symptoms would disappear. But the second I would step back onto the ground, whatever symptoms I had would come back. For instance, if I had a headache it would be gone while I rode, but when my boots swung out of the stirrups and I landed back on the ground, my headache would be instantly back.

This happened to me many times. Be it a cold, asthma, anxiety, you name it and it would disappear. These magical ponies that I dreamed of all of my life were performing their own magic trick for me. In return, I did the one thing I could think of to thank them: I paid them back in peppermints.

On a cold and rainy winter day, my lifelong dream came true, and I got my very own dream pony. I loved my dear Shiloh for 5 wonderful years before she passed away at the ripe old age of 30. She carried me through so many things: my spouse in law school, the birth of my second child (okay, so she didn't actually CARRY me through that!), depression, anxiety, etc. Just like the horses I took riding lessons on, my problems melted away atop my swaybacked Appaloosa.

I have been well enough to ride horses only a handful of times since I got sick, but something about the magic of the horses shifted since I developed Lyme Disease. They were no longer able to carry me away from my pain. My joints still ached. My anxiety was still there. I was still depressed about being chronically ill. After years of horses taking my pain away from me, what was going on?

With this illness, I have had to tap into incredible amounts of strength deep inside of me to make it through my pain. Maybe the horses began to sense a change in me. Inside, I am so much stronger now than I ever was when I was "healthy." I am a much more positive person. I try not to take life for granted so much. I think the horses understood that I was finally ready to carry myself, ironically at a time when I could barely walk on my own two feet.

The reality of my illness is that I am not able to take care of another horse anytime soon. But the dream of one day owning my own horse once again carries me through my hard times. I KNOW I will be well again. I will fight with every last ounce I have to accomplish this dream. And this time, I will be stronger. I will not need my horse to carry me away from anything. We will ride off on our new adventure, girl and horse.

I am fighting for you, Dream Pony!

PS I will still be putting "a pony" on my Christmas list this year, just in case...

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