Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Life Lessons

The end of this month marks one year since Lyme disease knocked the pants (and a few pants sizes!) off of me. Whether or not I wanted to, I've learned a lot from Lyme disease over this year.

I shudder to think how naive I was in the beginning. I was told it was "just mono" and I'd be back on my feet in 4-6 weeks. My husband was a busy law clerk for a judge with no mercy for the hours he was to remain tied to his desk at work. What were we going to do? Who would watch our two kids and take over my job of homeschooling the oldest? I could barely move and my pain was horrendous (remember, it wasn't actually "just mono"). It was inconvenient, but surely we could make it through because it was only 4-6 weeks...Right?

Wrong. The weeks turned into months and I was getting worse, not better. My pain was getting more and more unbearable. And one thing became clear pretty quickly: life kept on going whether or not I was healthy! I realized that it was up to no one but me whether I chose to cherish my days or throw them away. I could make the best of things, or I could continue on the path I was on and lose day after day to my battle with chronic illness. Those were precious days, too. My kids would never be that little again and I was missing out! I clung to this quote by Emerson, "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."

That brings me on to the next lesson I learned: acting how I feel is not an option. I have a lot of pain. Pain makes most people very grumpy. Being grumpy all the time is not acceptable! So, I try to laugh often. I surround myself with people who make me laugh. I watch silly movies. There is nothing in the world as wonderful as the friend who can make you laugh when you're in a great deal of pain!

I've learned that optimism is the only way to avoid being swallowed by the pain of this disease. I am a glass half empty girl by nature. No one in my family ever had a full glass, so why should I? Well, it became pretty obvious that my negative attitude pulled me down into a self-pitying abyss that was pretty hard to climb out of. I don't ever want to go down that road again! I catch myself slipping back into my old ways often, but that is good because when I catch myself, I can correct myself.

Lyme disease has changed me so much this year. I fought kicking and screaming in the beginning. I begged for mercy; I cried for my lot; I mourned for all I lost. But now I can see all that I've gained in the process. I am a stronger person than I was a year ago. It is so wonderful to see good come out of such pain, though it would be fantastic to just cash in on my life lessons and be done with this whole Lyme disease thing once and for all. However, I have a feeling that my lesson isn't quite over, so I have to just keep moving forward and wait for the day when I can say, "I am cured!"

With that, I will leave you with two quotes that I meditate on when things get rough:
"Endure and persist, this pain will turn good by and by." Ovid
“A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour.” Author unknown


  1. Love that last quote so much....
    You have a great attitude. We are "many strong and beautiful women" as Kiki puts it in her art.
    I find that parts of me have grown stronger and parts o fme have grown more fragile during this long journey. Having had cancer last March has brought fear back to the forefront and made it more challenging to see my glass as half full, but what you say about every day being the best day of the year is so important. It is all we have...this one day at a time is real...and our choices make it so!
    Love your post!

  2. I love the Emerson quote!

    In other news, am going to try and get the little bit of quilt stuff sent to you, plus two books you need to review. One is in regards to breast cancer but zomg has the best lyme rage description EVAH. I marked the pages that made me laugh...I never normally laugh while reading things and since this book made me laugh OUT LOUD I think you need to look at it too!

  3. even for those of us not suffering now, there is lots of good wisdom in here. Thanks.

  4. I have been repeating that Emerson quote to myself the last couple days, since I read this post, and making myself see what makes every day the best. Thank you for helping me out of my funk!