Struggling With Lyme, Pursuing Acceptance, and Trusting God With The Rest

The struggles of living with Lyme disease are myriad, absurd, and often unexpected - just as they are with many chronic debilitating illnesses. This past week, I was reminded of this fact yet again.

Out in a store with my Mom when suddenly, I feel the familiar sensation of vestibular dysfunction arising. Subtle at first. Slightly woozy, dizzy. I'm sitting down in my wheelchair, mind you. I feel it in my eyes. There's pressure in and behind my ears and at the base of my head. I feel my neck begin to ache and tighten up. I can't believe this is happening. Rolling around in and out of isles, maneuvering people and small spaces, only makes it worse. So does too much input. Fatigue begins to wash over me. Mom takes one look at me and knows. It's familiar to her also because she's seen it so often. We're both rather surprised, and disappointed.

We leave as soon as we can.

I'm thinking about a lot of things.

Vestibular stuff. I haven't felt this in a while. Why is it happening now? 

Ginger. I have no ginger with me, shoot!

Whole Foods is just across the street. We'll go over there and get some.

By the time we get to the car, I'm running a fever and feeling more tired and woozy—a little nauseous. I'm feeling drained. I have no stamina.

What's happened? I used to be able to tolerate a couple of stops before anything like this. And I haven't had vertigo in quite some time. I feel like I've taken two steps backward.

And then it hits me.

I remember just how bad I have felt this year. How since spring, I have not been out except to go to doctor's appointments, and many times, I've had to drag myself to those. How the Lyme treatment has been so taxing; how CMV and EBV levels got really high again this past summer, and we had to direct our focus on that too; how my spleen and liver have been so congested and dysfunctional; how tender and swollen they've been; how I've had visceral adjustments; how the last adjustment wiped me out for two weeks.

I think I know why this happened. It happened because I've been more debilitated this year (no wonder I have such low stamina). It happened because I've been physically unable to hardly get out. It happened because I have had some better days at home since breaking from the Lyme treatment this fall but mistakenly thought that could translate into a better day out shopping in a store.

After many years of living with chronic illness, I know better. Having better days at home and better days out are two totally different things. I know that. I've lived that. But for some strange reason, it didn't dawn on me that I couldn't handle a store or two like usual, even though this was only my second time being out in one since early spring. And there it is - I was expecting the usual. But these are not usual times, and I have had an unusual year of feeling unusually bad.

As difficult as the past 17 years have been, this year has been uniquely difficult and challenging. I began on a full Lyme treatment protocol in September 2010. Since then, between treating chronic Lyme and multiple co-infections (Ehrlichia, Babesia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Mycoplasma, Epstein-Barr, and Cytomegalovirus), it's been a rough ride, to say the least. There are no words to fully articulate the depth of this. If you've not been here, you can't possibly know. That's all I can say because it's as simple as that.

I had planned to post something entirely different today, a post I worked on a few days ago describing the mild, quiet, beautiful days I'd been having at home the week before last. What an interesting irony. I'll post it later, but what happened this past week is ever a reminder to me that there are just some things we absolutely cannot do for ourselves. 

Only God can change certain things.

My Mom did run into Whole Foods and got me a bottle of ginger; it always helps, and that day was no different. About 30 minutes after taking 1,000 mg of ginger root, I started feeling some better. Better enough to briefly stop at a store I love and then have lunch at a place I love. You learn to go on and enjoy some part of your day if you can. By then, though, I was totally spent.

One of the ongoing challenges in all this is acceptance; acceptance of what my body can and cannot do at any given moment, on any given day. On the ride home, I felt like I'd had a setback. I have felt this way so many times before over the years, and it still doesn't feel good. However, I've also learned it's not productive or healthy to be frustrated with my body for what it truly cannot do.

Instead, I must practice the love, self-care, and acceptance my body needs. I know my body is working hard to try and heal and repair. I know I help aid this process through whole good nutrition, proper rest, treatment and therapies, prayer, etc. 

Being critical or harsh with my body accomplishes nothing. I remind myself to be as gentle and caring with me as I am with my Lyme and other chronically ill friends. So I went to bed when I got home that day. I needed rest, I needed quiet, I needed hot tea, and I needed the total acceptance of where I was. It doesn't mean it will always be this way. It does mean I accept what I cannot change at this present moment, and then trust God with the rest.


Michelle Holderman
Copyright © 2011


  1. This post is absolutely beautiful touches me today in places that need healing within my psyche. I relate so well to what you are saying...and finding that acceptance once again is where I find myself as I spend day after day in undescribable pain like the old days...long ago...but never far away. I am so grateful that I can come here and hear God speak to me through your words....especially when I have had none this week..empty and broken. Bless you.

  2. Renee, your comment touches my heart so deeply. It brought tears to my eyes. I understand, I care and I feel so blessed to be able to share our journeys together through our blogs. I've felt broken and empty many times myself and only God can truly speak to us there and give us comfort and assurance. I feel humbled and honored that He would speak to you through my words. Bless you too my friend. I'm thinking of you and praying the Father loves you up.

  3. I know just what you are describing! I'm so thankful for other saints who go through this and share how God is shaping them. Great post!

  4. Thank you Heather! I appreciate other believers who genuinely share from their hearts too. You're so right; God truly does shape us in what we go through. I'm so glad you stopped by. Do you have blog? I'd love to check out your story. Many blessings.

  5. I love you, Michelle. You have such a gift of putting into words what all of us are feeling. Thank you for writing about the ick, as well as the inspiration. From our hearts to your mouth. Wishing you sweet rest and a better tomorrow. XOXOX

  6. Kathy, love you too my friend. It's always good to hear from you. I know you've been in a lot of pain w/ your arm and shoulder lately. Hope you've been able to find some relief. I know it can be so taxing. It surely is difficult to articulate the depth of this struggle isn't it? Sometimes words fail me. Sometimes it seems easier to not talk about it. But it's important that we do. Thank you for your compliment. I'm humbled by it. You have quite a way with words yourself. Maybe more than you know. Hope to catch up with you soon. XOXOX