Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Just A Passing Phase

Whenever my Lyme disease doctor utters the words, "It's time to change your treatment protocol," it's translated in my brain as, "The shit's about to hit the fan!" I have been in treatment long enough that I have come to recognize a distinct pattern in my behavior when it's time to make the switch to a new treatment.

The first thing that happens to me is that I go into a strange mourning period, known as The Morticia Addams Phase of my treatment. This is the time to find me dressed in head-to-toe black clothing, banishing all smiling from the entire household, and sunk into a miserable, deep depression (usually involving particularly large quantities of ice cream.)

I always need to take a few days to grieve when I have to begin a new treatment protocol. Letting go of what is working for my body and accepting that things are going to be unpleasant for a while is a very difficult thing to face. It means the end of whatever particular form of torture--whoops, I mean treatment--was bringing me relief from the myriad symptoms of Lyme disease.

After my mourning period is over, I morph into The Alice Brady Phase of my treatment. With a sudden burst of energy from out of nowhere that can be likened to a heavily pregnant woman overcome by intense nesting urges, I suddenly fly into a cleaning frenzy as I start prepping my household for the Great Lyme-quake that's about to hit the house once I pop those new pills into my mouth.

If you were to get up for a midnight snack, you might bump into me organizing the Tupperware cabinet, frantically chasing dust bunnies, or lining up bags of unwanted items in the attic for Goodwill. With the threat of me being down for the count for an unknown period of time, this is likely the last time the house will see a sponge or a broom for a very long time.

The burst of energy is usually short-lived. Enter The Cowardly Lion Phase of my treatment. This is the part where I forget all about my strength and bravery and all of the hardships I've successfully overcome since my battle with Lyme disease began. The what-ifs come raining down on my head and knock me out with fear. How sick will I have to get before I start feeling better? How am I going to get through this? What if I can't handle the pain? What if a dodo bird walks down our street and I'm too exhausted to grab my camera and take the photo that would have turned me into a millionaire?

Like a death sentence, The Cowardly Lion Phase of treatment usually has me counting down the hours, minutes and seconds until it's time to begin the new treatment protocol. I'd like to say that at the last minute, I discover my courage and face those new pills like a true champ. Sorry, but no. However, sometime after I'm knee-deep in a nasty Herx, I enter into the final phase of treatment.

(Drum roll please......)

Last, but not least, the hardest, yet most rewarding part of treatment: The Santa Claus Phase of treatment. With the beginning of a new treatment comes the most severe pain involved in battling this debilitating disease, and in these moments I am profoundly affected by the help and generosity of others. Like Santa Claus, I find myself wanting to share the joy with others. This is the part of treatment where life is often covered in a beautiful, soft blanket of snow. With The Santa Claus Phase of treatment comes the hope of a cure and the magical beauty that is this crazy, painful, messy beautiful thing called life.


  1. This post is fantastic, ALyson. You have described things so well. Thinking of you friend. Onward and upward!

  2. so self aware and positive! Love you bff!