Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Ugly Gift

Today, on this day of giving thanks, I can't help but marvel at something that I am grateful for: I am genuinely thankful for my Lyme disease, despite the hell it has put me through. Now you may be wondering how anyone could be thankful for a crippling, painful disease and before you conclude that I have completely fallen off of my rocker, let me explain myself.

Before I had THE BIG CRASH--the moment that I went from functioning to bed bound--I burned through each day going a mile a minute. I was stressed, I was crazed, I felt like crap all the time and my days blurred together meaninglessly. Sure, there were good times; some really good times, even. But, inside, I was miserable. Maybe it was all that unchecked sickness building up in my body, but mostly, it had to do with my lifestyle--with a great big emphasis on a very bad attitude (guilty as charged!).

When you come to that part of your life that everyone must come to at some point--the part where life no longer hands you lemons, but rather, pelts you with them--most of us switch into survival mode. You do what you have to do no matter what it takes to make it through each minute of every hour of every day, never mind trying to make lemonade with those lemons!

When I first got sick, I went into survival mode and guess what I did? I whined, I cried; I was bitter. I took it out on those around me. I looked for every possible way out of my situation that I could possibly come up with, but there was none. The only way out of Lyme disease was through.

One day I realized I wasn't actually running away from Lyme disease; I was running away from myself. Anything to avoid facing my demons--me. That big, fat, bad attitude was staring me right back in the face. We are either our own worst enemy or our own best friend, but the choice is ours.

Not one single part of this journey with Lyme disease has been easy. In fact, it has been the hardest thing I've ever gone through in my life. But it has also been the most life changing thing I've ever been through. Lyme disease forced me to look long and hard at myself and who I truly am. It pushed me out of my comfort zone--and you'd better believe I fought that kicking and screaming--but it caused a beautiful metamorphosis.

Because of Lyme disease, I am thankful not only on Thanksgiving, but on every single day of the year. I am thankful for every moment of my life, even the ugly, painful moments. I have learned and am learning still to live in the moment and enjoy the present--it's all we have! I am thankful for the gifts that were given to me wrapped up in the ugliest packaging ever imaginable--Lyme disease!

I'm not through my journey yet. In fact, I've just begun. But I've got a much, much better attitude and I've learned how to be a better person to myself and now I am ready to actually battle Lyme disease instead of battling myself.
Thanksgiving 2009, a few short months before my big Lyme crash


  1. I love you my goofy, funny, optimistic, real, genuine, courageous, beautiful friend. I am thankful for YOU and incredibly glad our paths crossed on this journey.:) Enjoy your day and your goodies. Can't wait to hear how it goes.

  2. This is an absolutely beautiful expression of gratitude in the midst of difficult challenging and at times horrible circumstances. Alyson, your wisdom amazes and blesses me...Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving...

  3. I don't think I could say it better than Renee did, so I "ditto" that. Thank you, Alyson. You truly are amazing.

  4. Ahhh... beautiful post! Yes, I feel very thankful for Lyme as well. Rumi was right! Every visitor brings a gift to the guest house.

  5. So well said, as always, my friend! Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

  6. I can totally relate to this! I have gone been going through a lot of good self reflection this past month and realized I needed to make some changes within myself! Great post Allison. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are feeling well! xoxo