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5 Not-So-Typical New Year's Resolutions From a Person With Lyme Disease

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Lyme disease. I’d always heard of it, but like most people I never thought anything more about it. I was diagnosed in April 2015. I went from a mom of three, schoolteacher, wife, constantly on the move and busy, to a shell of myself. I could barely get up out of bed, and some days I questioned if I was losing my mind. I don’t want to dwell on the pain and bizarre symptoms of Lyme. I want to keep thinking about what I will be able to do again. And what I will never take for granted again.

My resolution list is so different from my past lists. I used to tell myself I would exercise more this year. I would eat healthier this year. I would keep up on laundry this year. Now my list is so different. If there is one thing this awful disease has taught me it is to be grateful for the little things, the small things I always took for granted. So looking forward into 2017 I have many resolutions. I will stay strong and positive. I will reach these goals. I will do it.

Resolution 1: To dance. I’m not a dancer (far from it). I teach fourth grade, and we do lots of brain breaks to get the kids up moving. I’ve always had fun just dancing to the videos we put on. I was always up being silly right along with the kids. It was just something I did. My Lyme has prevented me from moving much without pain. So I gave it up. But I’m getting stronger. I’ve been in treatments for almost six months, and I am taking small steps forward. I will dance along with my students in 2017. I will have the strength.

Resolution 2: To gain the courage and strength to get back on my granny bicycle again. My youngest daughter and I always loved to bike ride around our small town. I look at my bicycle with longing. To ride again would feel like freedom, like pure bliss. I believe I can move forward and hop on my bike again to go on a joy ride with my daughter.

Resolution 3: Pay it forward. Give back. I want to be there for someone with a disease. It became so obvious to me after getting sick that the friends who truly knew what to say and how to make me feel hopeful were the ones who have been through a cancer or disease themselves. They lived through it, they know what it takes to get up out of bed every day. Those friends know what to say to keep you positive that some doctor will finally listen to you and help you figure it all out. They know what it takes to try to stay positive even when the gains are so tiny that you don’t notice any improvement at all. I’m now one of them. One of the disabled, one with a “strange” disease that has changed my life. I want to give hope to at least one other person. I want to help them believe they can have happiness in their life again. I want to give back.

Resolution 4: Appreciate the little things. I continue to remind myself that even in the darkest moments there is sunlight. That even when I can’t think of one good thing about my day because of my pain and anxiety, there is something good. This year I don’t want to take my life for granted. I want to remind myself that the small things are big in my life. This fall one of those moments was when I had playground duty. A little kindergartener who I didn’t even know brought me a tiny flower she had picked just for me. I wore it in my hair all day. That was enough to make me smile. I think back to last year when I couldn’t lift my hands to type without feeling like my arms were being weighted down, without my muscles aching and my fingers going numb. I am sitting here typing this without pain. Small things I always took for granted now seem huge to me. In 2017 I want to appreciate all of those small things.

Resolution 5: Awareness. My resolution for 2017 is to make people aware of Lyme disease. I have wondered so many times, why me? Why did this have to take away so much in my life? My normalcy? Why aren’t people aware that this is a real disease? I was told by traditional doctors that Lyme doesn’t exist in my state. They told me I would be wasting my time by pursuing the idea. This year I want to raise awareness. I want people struggling with bizarre symptoms, people who are told nothing is wrong with them… I want them to know there are answers. I want to write newspaper articles. I want to blog. I want to speak up. I want others to be aware that Lyme disease does exist here. And that there is hope.

So maybe there is a reason I have this disease. Maybe it was to make me appreciate my life in new ways. Maybe it is so I can help one other person who has undiagnosed Lyme. Maybe this year I will make my resolutions a reality.

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Thinkstock photo by tetmc

Originally published: December 27, 2016
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