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I Never Would Have Guessed My Lyme Journey Would Bring Me Love

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Getting diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease when I was 30, single and finally finding my career path wasn’t in my life plans. That old saying, “When you make a plan, God laughs,” certainly applies here. I had to drop out of school and quit my yoga teaching jobs. I lost friendships. I eventually called it quits and moved closer to family for help. My mom is my full-time caretaker. My life flipped upside down, and my future was completely uncertain.

The when’s, how’s and where’s start to grow and grow until it can overtake you. I often hear the sentiment, “Just be present,” and as much as I want to roll my eyes, it’s right on. Having only the present can be a scary thing — this is it and that’s all there is. Radical acceptance comes knocking at the door, and I can’t keep it out forever. Once I surrender control of the uncontrollable, life gets a bit easier. Ideas flow in and dreams feels tangible. Even falling in love.

We met online and instantly clicked. He felt like a really good person right away. We started talking every day. When he asked to meet the first time, I wasn’t ready. I was scared of what he would do once he saw me and my illness, regardless of its invisibility. I asked if he would be willing to meet up a few weeks later and continue talking in the meantime. He said yes and our conversations became much more deep. Within the next few weeks, I opened up to him about my Lyme. He was unconditionally accepting, supportive and did not let it negatively affect our relationship.

Having some time to talk before meeting allowed me to get to know him differently. I really liked him before our first date. I knew we had things in common. He was cultured, smart and was willing to put himself out there. He treated me wonderfully.

On our first date, we had this quiet moment I will never forget. It started to rain during a hike, so we stood together underneath his umbrella, just gazing out onto a beautiful New England valley from the mountainside. We stood there, quiet, comfortable and so happy. We looked at each other smiling softly, and we both knew this was it — the real deal.

Conversations for days turned into a true friendship, leading to an undeniable loving relationship. What we now have, in a rather short time, trumps any disease, and the proof is in our everyday lives. His simple acts of kindness, caregiving and openness about his feelings have transformed me into the most grateful, humbled woman. He truly shows up, is completely present and puts me as a top priority. And vice versa. He’s dealing with his own issues like all humans do, and I am lucky enough to support him in a way only I can. It’s true love, but it will always be a work in progress. 

Having Lyme and being forced to self-care during dating completely changed who I could accept into my life. This did not occur easily or overnight. There were a few occasions where major damage was done by men when I was at my sickest and weakest. There were people who gave less than they took, whose words were not authentic and who truly just didn’t care. Things became very black and white — who will stand by me and who will hurt me.

Now a hard layer has been lifted off of me from the depths of this chronic illness. What is most important is that I’m with someone who loves me for who I am, actively makes my life better and who I feel the safest with. Safety and responsibility had never been a big priority before. Now those are some of the things I love most about my boyfriend.

Lyme changes the whole game — who we will meet, who will love us and who will hate on us. I never would have guessed this Lyme journey would bring me love and a whole new positive future. Living with Lyme is hell on earth for me, and before now, I was just hoping to survive with some semblance of a life.

Now having a partner, in every sense of the word, is a huge change. As times goes on, he is starting to see the challenges I face. I wanted to hold off on him seeing the truly ugly things. How doctors can talk disrespectfully to me and treat me like my needs aren’t real. How friends and family can say the most cutting words and create destructive holes within me while I am so sick. Being in extreme pain with no idea when I will get help and having to live like this every day. Balancing patience and frustration. 

I try to tuck away all of the living nightmares or cry myself into a ball, but it’s only brought us closer. He sees and feels it all without judging me or holding me accountable for things I’m not. With a look or touch, he can snap me out of a rage or panic. Not only can he handle it, he wants to be there. He is choosing me in a very deep way. 

I have someone to hold me when I’m scared, when I’m in pain and when I need someone to listen to my deepest fears. I have never felt so trusting towards another person. And — oh, man — do I have trust issues. Normally I would never let a man see how badly I am hurting. Meeting during this strange circumstance may seem extraordinary, but I’m a smart woman and know we met for a reason — to be everyday angels for each other forever. 

Lymies, we are not unlovable. We are not ugly, invisible, ashamed or scared. We are people who equally deserve love and acceptance. Don’t let a diagnosis, a flare-up or negative thoughts stop you from being a person who is loved and loves others. You never know who you will meet! 

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: October 4, 2016
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