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Learning to Love My Life With Chronic Lyme Disease

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Chronic (persistent) Lyme disease can completely alter your life in ways one could never imagine. I used to be carefree, full of energy and adventurous. I was a veterinarian technician and found immense joy working with and helping animals. I was always game for things like white water rafting, parasailing or horseback riding. Those are a few of my fondest memories. I use to exercise and run everyday. But Lyme disease forced me to give up so many of those things because I could no longer physically apply myself. My fatigue, joint pain and cardiac issues are relentless and keep me from the adventurous activities.

I will admit that some days it is hard to love myself when I have so many limitations and so many days when I am bedridden or housebound. Years of struggling can really wear a person down mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Occasionally feelings of guilt, loneliness and depression begin to creep in. I find myself praying multiple times a day just get through the tougher days. However, in these times of desperation I remind myself I have made it through 100 percent of my hardest days. I realized I was much stronger than I ever envisioned. I began to find joy in the small things I can still do, even if it’s only once in a while. I made a conscious decision to do whatever it takes to get better and continue to see that light at the end of the tunnel.

After all, we were not put on this earth to give into our battles, or even to be happy 100 percent of the time. We were put on this earth to learn, to grow, to overcome obstacles, to find happiness in our situations and live life as best we can. Ironically, having multiple health issues has taught me to never give up and never lose hope.

woman with long brown hair standing outside under a branch with autumn leaves

Though Lyme disease has taken many of my opportunities and dreams, it has been a tremendous mentor to me. I’ve learned much about myself, others and life in general. I’m in a marriage that has endured the emotional roller coaster ride known as chronic illness, yet my marriage is stronger than ever. I appreciate those loved ones who remained by my side even when I was a shell of the person I used to be, and that made me love and appreciate them much more. I still have hope that one day I will be able to do all or most of the things I used to adore. I still have hope that one day I will be that carefree and energetic person I was so long ago.

So for those of you struggling, please know you are not alone. Please know this life you were given is worth the fight. If you are struggling, find ways to permeate happiness and love in your life. Understand it is not your fault you are sick. Fight fear and adversity and instill hope in your heart. Above all, love who you are regardless of your tribulations because that is the best thing you can do for yourself.

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Originally published: January 20, 2017
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