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To My Parents: Thank You for Supporting Me Through Lyme Disease

My battle with chronic Lyme disease and multiple co-infections over the past few years has affected my family and my relationships in such a profound way that it pains me to talk about it. I often feel like I do not express my gratitude to the people who support me most in my life and without a doubt that is my parents.

Their resilience and belief in my ability to recover is astounding. It cannot be easy for them to sit and watch their daughter struggle emotionally, mentally and physically in a constant battle between recovery and relapse. They don’t wallow in self-pity about the cards they’ve been dealt in life. They have had to deal with watching both their daughters’ lives being taken over by chronic Lyme disease.  The last few years for them has been a series of unfortunate events and yet they keep going.

woman lying in bed receiving an infusion

Even when my sister and I had to move to another country to undergo intense medical treatment for six months, my Mum came with us. She gave up her job and moved to a country where we did not speak the language without a second thought. My parents had to be separated with my Dad living at home while my Mum took care of my sister and I in another country and yet never once did they complain, never once did they make us feel like a burden, never once did they consider any option other than being by our side and supporting us no matter what. They continue to deal with the insurmountable stress that comes with having two sick daughters who have to travel to another country for medical treatment.

You don’t bat an eyelid when the cupboards in your house have been taken over by my medical supplies. You took it in your stride that your living room now is home to my medical equipment and big oxygen machine. You take me to endless doctor appointments, pick up my prescriptions, cook my specialized food, provide me with medical equipment in my home and with a roof over my head.

lyme disease cartoon comparing what it's like on the outside and on the inside

No matter what, you always put me first. You will cancel your plans if my health takes a turn and stay in with me. You never make me feel guilty when your plans must be cancelled and you stay by my side. There are days where my brain isn’t working as it should or when the insomnia has flared up so I’m tired and irritable and snap at you for no reason. You love me on the days when I am hard to love, when I am angry, sad and depressed for all that this illness has stolen from me. You will support me financially for months when I am too unwell to work and you never make me feel guilty.

You sit by my bedside if I get hospitalized. You’ll hold my hand when I’m in immense pain and tears are streaming down my face. You pick me up when I collapse and help me to my room. You bring me the icepacks when my body is on fire. You bring me heat patches when my muscle pain is too much to deal with. You run me baths to help me detox. You bring me meals and water to my room on the bad days when I can’t make it out of bed. You continue to encourage me to reach for my dreams. You continue to remind me that I am more than my illness, that it is not my identity and I am worth so much more. Your selflessness and kindness never cease to amaze me.

And I know that when you say you would give or do anything just to make me healthy again, that you would. I know this illness has not only broken my heart into pieces but that it has broken both of your hearts too.  I know the major impact it has had on all areas of your life. So, this is my letter to my mum and dad, I may not always express my enormous gratitude that I feel for you and I am in awe of what you have both sacrificed and done for me. On my worst days when I feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel, I remind myself to be incredibly grateful that I have both my parents as my personal cheerleaders, always there to help, and it eases my pain that little bit.

I thank you for your part in my journey

Thank you for being my mum and dad and, to put it simply, you are both my heroes and I would be lost without you in my life. Having loving and supportive parents is not something I take for granted. Every day you continue to uplift me, comfort me, support me and love me unconditionally. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Getty Image by spukkato

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