What Remission Looks Like: And the fear of relapse
This may not seem like a big accomplishment to those who are healthy, but I biked about five miles this past Saturday. Then, I came home and ran another mile. On Sunday I ran a half mile and biked three miles. This is the girl who couldn't walk up steps without heart medication even before I became so sick with Lyme. Although I still take heart meds as needed, I have been running without heart medication. This is huge for someone who took a beta blocker daily from age 17 until just a few months ago (I'm 43 now).
This is what remission looks like
When I began running last week, I couldn't believe how I felt. I didn't want to stop running. I felt like my head was clear and my energy was endless. I can't remember the last time that I felt this way...This is what remission looks like. I spent the day at the amusement park with my kids, forgetting about Lyme...This is what remission looks like. My husband and I went to a Pirate's baseball game and enjoyed drinks with friends after hiking it from the car to PNC park and back again, getting home at 1AM and enjoying every minute...This is what remission looks like.
And then I fear the relapse
When my body doesn't recover as quickly from the intensity of my activity and I have to tell myself to rest...This is the fear of relapse. When I don't sleep well and recognize that I have to be consistent with my sleep schedule...This is the fear of relapse. When I weened off my seizure and sleep meds and have a bad night's sleep....This is the fear of relapse. Every time I eat something sweet or indulge with a glass of wine, I pause...This is the fear of relapse. When I accidentally eat gluten or dairy... when I use a non-organic, toxic shampoo... when I get easily frustrated...when I get a headache or nauseated... when I forget a what I was saying... when I become congested, tired, or achy...This is the fear of relapse.
My Takeaway: Having Lyme is like having PTsd
I'm not trying to undermine PTSD, but going through something like Lyme disease makes you feel like you have been through a huge trauma. I am thankful for my health and that God brought me through the hellish nightmare of Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment. But, and this is a big BUT, I realize that I am not the same and my body is not the same. For example, my dad was in Italy last week and had a health crisis. He is diabetic and cut his foot. The wound became infected and his health deteriorated quickly with septicemia. I got a frantic call from my mom to get a list of his meds for the hospital in Italy. The stress took an immediate toll on my body and I felt like I was getting sick, then....the fear of relapse. It follows me around every day like a sad, lost puppy. I think after you have gone through endless days of being ill, the feeling that you will never recover, the feeling of having the flu every. single. day. This is when you appreciate your health so much more. At the same time, you know how easily it can be lost and that the loss is completely out of your control. I hope to one day get beyond this fear and live with the happiness of having my health, but the truth is....I think that is naive. Lyme is something that you cannot avoid unless you live inside of a sterile bubble world. I am choosing instead to just be thankful for my health today. Love to all. Becca
Becca Brinkmann, PhD, writes about her experiences with Lyme disease and how she found hope through the storm of illness. She created hopetohealth.com to provide resources and information on Lyme treatment and support. She recently published a book for her son with congenital Lyme, called My Wish. She lives with her family in Western Pennsylvania. Visit hopetohealth for more information. Subscribe to the blog below!