These past few days have been a struggle. I'm now in the seventh month of my treatment protocol for chronic Lyme disease and I'm finding the further we go into it; the more difficult and challenging it gets.
I'm learning a lot more about this advanced or late stage of Lyme disease. I'm also coming to understand more about the multiple strains of Borrelia bacteria that cause the various symptoms. Nothing like being up close and personal with a load of Lyme spirochetes. And I am learning more about the vicious nature of not only the disease itself, but the controversy surrounding it.
Now I'm no wimp. I've lived with this debilitating illness for almost two decades and have developed a rather unique toughness about me. I am very familiar with the wearying roller coaster nature of chronic illness. I know what it is to have to dig in for the long haul. I understand the necessity of perseverance. I also know it is God who has sustained me through all of this. My help truly comes from the Lord! Still, it has been anything but easy.
I was told by my doctor that things tend to get worse before they get better. I get that. Herxheimer reactions or healing crises are common during treatment. And believe me, I clearly understand this is a major process. You know the old cliche' - sick and tired of being sick and tired? Well, that's me. I'm feeling really worn out by all of it. Not that I haven't felt that way a million times before but I think there is something really profound and different happening in my body now. Perhaps, then, it would make sense that this would be more difficult.
I've also been thinking about the fact that this illness has been misdiagnosed all of these years. MS, Primary Lateral Sclerosis, Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, Chronic Mono and Post-viral Demyelinating Syndrome. These are a few of the diagnoses I've gotten over time but Lyme has been underlying all along.
Some days, the unfairness of it all wants to creep into my mind. And so does the thought of wondering what the difference in my life might be like had I been properly diagnosed early on. Yet I know this thinking is not productive whatsoever. So I don't entertain it for long. I can't. Because ultimately I know there is a greater, divine purpose in all that has happened and this is what motivates me to keep going. I choose to trust God.
Chronic illness is very exhausting; physically, emotionally, financially and yes, even spiritually at times. It often seems like an unending and ruthless battle. And sometimes my heart just aches for better days. Yet through the most difficult of times, I have found Jesus to be closest. Psalm 34:18 is surely true: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed."
I do have some specific prayer requests. First and foremost, please continue praying for my endurance and comfort. This was specific from the Lord and I really do ask that you pray this above all else. He knows exactly what I need.
And secondly, I am experiencing shortness of breath. This is something I've dealt with throughout my illness but is now being exacerbated by the treatment. Basically, it's the Lyme. My doctor feels there is nothing we can do to fully alleviate it but she has put me on something that is helping. However I'm still having times I experience this, especially when I move around a lot. It's no fun whatsoever and adds to my already existent fatigue. Please pray for this to totally subside.
In the meantime, I will keep on traveling this long and winding road; maybe even with that very Beatles tune cranked up on my iPod. Gotta smile :) I might have to stop every so often and I might even have to crawl awhile, but I will go on.
And I will ever remind myself of two things: God's grace is sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12:9); and never, never, never give up (Winston Churchill).
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