Lately, a number of friends have been sharing with me articles about chronic Lyme disease sufferers speaking out, including celebrities. The articles all say the same thing. To put it bluntly, Lyme disease is a bitch.
But the resounding beauty in these stories is a united tenacity, the strength to fight the daily struggle that lies hidden from the outside. Lyme disease can rob you of a normal life, but who really wants to be normal anyway?
Five years ago, I was on my way toward achieving one of my life goals. But it was halfway through training for a marathon in the beautiful Texas Hill Country that I started having joint pain, muscle spasms, nerve tingling and debilitating fatigue. Six months later, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease.
In 2014, I finished the famed 7-mile Bridge Run in the Florida Keys, my first race since the diagnosis that altered my life considerably. This year, I began training for a marathon again. But history repeated itself. At the halfway mark, my joint pain became unbearable.
It has been difficult accepting that I won’t be able to run that marathon in November that I set my eyes on back in January, the one for which I shelled out hard-earned savings for a spiffy pair of running shoes and spent countless hours researching. But I will get there one day. Dreams and goals are not meant to be forgotten. We make our own timelines for our own achievements, and when we have to put one on the back burner, we fill our lives with abundant new aspirations.
Lyme disease makes me fight daily battles, including abetting in my anxiety struggle. But in more ways than one, this staunch, crippling, silent disease has been a blessing in disguise. It continually forces me outside of my comfort zone, and in doing so, I’m living a life far from normal–a life I’ve still created for myself. Because no matter how overwhelming this condition is, it will not rule the way I choose to live.