It’s been more than three years since I’ve been able to blog, and now I’m not sure where to start. As readers and friends know, after dealing with a mysterious chronic-fatigue-inducing illness for years, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2006. I rejoiced to finally have a name, to know that it wasn’t in my head, and to have a plan of action for treating it. Health seemed possible again. But the journey getting back to health has been far more than I ever bargained for.
I assumed with my determined spirit and no-holds-barred approach to getting well that I could lick this thing in a matter of months. I had no idea how sick I was and how little is known about chronic Lyme and how to treat it. Or that the treatment would, in some ways, be harder than the disease itself.
Eventually, my journey with Lyme will be a book. (Actually, I was under contract to write that book, but was unable to finish it — ironically, because of the Lyme. Ugh.) It’s been by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to deal with. I can’t put into words what I’ve lost because of this illness — the years of not being able to work, the years of not being able to simply get off the couch and live. I’ve faced depression unlike anything I ever could have imagined. But — while I would never wish this on anyone — I also can’t put into words what I’ve gained. An understanding of God’s great mercies, expressed so tangibly through family and friends. The way this has molded me into someone different and in many ways better. A sense of protection and strength in the midst of horrible vulnerability and weakness.
In my favorite William Cowper poem, one I talk about in A Walk with Jane Austen, he says:
God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
God’s hand has been here, in the midst of the storm.
I’m unspeakably grateful for my doctor — the second doctor who has treated me, who has been carefully isolating and treating various infections over the last 2+ years. As it turns out, as in many cases of chronic illness, I suspect, there were things that had weakened my immune system and made me susceptible before I ever got Lyme. Then, with years without a diagnosis, my system succumbed not only to the Lyme and co-infections, but to other opportunistic things that came along.
The wonderful, fabulous, unbelievable, joyous news is that health is still possible, and that I’m headed there. It’s impossible to tell how long the treatment will take, but I see signs of progress all the time — enough to give me tangible hope.
I’m well enough to work again — still not as much as I would like — and I’m thrilled to be back here with you all. Thank you for your love and prayers over the years! There have been so many sweet emails and comments that I haven’t been able to reply to, but I can’t tell you how much they’ve meant to me.