This past year has been a whirlwind of events, all related to my Lyme, and these events used to make me feel so super unlucky, but I've realized I wouldn't be the person I am today without all that's happened.
I'm thankful for Lyme Disease because it's made me see life in a positive perspective. Before this last year, I was a very negative person. Don't get me wrong, I know the reason I am negative is because of my neurological Lyme Disease, but this past year, I've learned to see the silver lining in all of it. I've had Lyme & co-infections for 16 years now, and I got it at such a young age I honestly don't know what a "normal" feels like. My childhood, teenage years, and adulthood "normal" was extremely negative. I still have my negative bouts, there's no doubt about that, but Lyme has taught me and shown me that I'll be more happier if I try to pick out the positive of everything rather than the negative. Instead of "I feel so awful" I now see it as "I feel bad, but I've had worse days, this is an improvement." Like I said, I haven't completely dumped my negative feelings, they are still there, but when I'm starting to feel super negative and down, I do try and force myself to see the better.
I'm thankful for Lyme Disease for showing me the true side of people. Everyone has gone through it, not just with Lyme Disease but with other invisible diseases, we've all lost friends and family who we thought would never leave us in this life. The reality is that people don't understand, and sometimes are too ignorant, to see the true suffering and accept us for who we are and respect us for the suffering we go through. I have lost some best friends who believe I'm "over dramatic" or it's simply not as awful as I make it seem. Or even, that I'm making it all up. I used to dwell on those, I used to try and make these people understand that what I'm going through is real, but I've learned that they are not worth my waste of energy, time and emotions. You can't force people to care. This also goes for worldwide Lyme awareness... I used to get so mad and so upset over these articles people post saying "Lyme isn't real." I'd get so angry. Yet again, you can't educate the ignorant and unwilling to learn, therefore they aren't the waste of emotion. In the past year I've learned to ignore those articles, and ignore the stupid comments people make in relation to that. I've learned that it's just not worth it.
I'm thankful for Lyme Disease because it's given me a chance to educate and support people. I've always been a very compassionate, empathetic person and since leaving my job as a funeral director I've been aching to show my passion. In the past year I've started a support group to try and help others like me, and I've always been able to open my wings and teach those who don't know anything about Lyme. I've done several awareness events for those anxious to learn, and I'm very grateful that I've been able to have the opportunity to do so.
I'm thankful for Lyme Disease because I've made some amazing friends I wouldn't have known otherwise. There are a couple people I've met in the last year that I consider family; these people I have so much in common with and are some of my best friends (my little sister and twinsy!). If it hadn't had been for Lyme, I wouldn't have even known these people existed, which would have been awful because they have improved my life so much.
I'm thankful for Lyme Disease because I've learned to appreciate those around me. I have had the same group of best friends since middle school, and luckily when I got extremely sick last year they turned around and showed me more support than I could even imagine. I've always been one to appreciate my friends and family, but I've gained so much more love and respect for them that I didn't know I could, just because of their support. It takes a lot for someone to be around when you're attached to an IV pole and act and treat you like everything is already, and I appreciate it so much. My friends have become my savior in the last year, they are capable of holding me up when I was down.
There are other things and people are I am thankful for that didn't come about because of Lyme, but are closely related to Lyme.
First off my parents. If it wasn't for them I would have been homeless this last year. They have let me come back and live with them in the past year of extreme sickness. I'm especially thankful to my mom. Every. Single. Day. I did an IV, she'd spend the night before drawing on my IV bags just to make me smile. She has taken me and has been to every single doctors appointment with me, has supported me so much, and has tended to me on my worse days, hand over foot. She is doing everything she can to help me get back on my feet to restart my life.
I'm thankful for my brother, of course. Without him I wouldn't have gotten the Lyme treatment I needed last year due to financial issues. My brother supports me medically, has attended most of my doctors appointments in San Francisco and asks the doctor the difficult questions that I don't even think of. Not only does he support me medically, he does what he can to try and make me feel like my life isn't wasting away. He brought me to PAX Prime last year, which was amazing, and he's pushed me to have a lot of fun.
I'm thankful for my friends, my Lymie friends, my best friends, all of them. They do so much for me. Josie has been to every single support group meeting I've had, every single awareness event that she's been able to attend when work doesn't interrupt, and she's stepped up to basically be my nurse on cross country traveling trips. She is always there for me, she is amazing. Saby is my twinsy that I met because we both have Lyme Disease. She's my go to person with the most bizarre Lyme questions, relationship advice, and just cat related stuff. Since we've started talking, there has not been a day that we don't text back and forth. Allison is my Lymie little sister, the little sister I never had. She gives me hope. Through everything she is gone through she is still capable to smile, to have a good time, and be positive. I don't think I've ever seen her without a smile on her face, even when she's tired. Her intelligence is so phenomenal, and her personality is so great. Being around her, even when I feel awful, is so much fun and so full of laughs. Allison's mom too, Kathryn, is equally as amazing as her daughter, she's a huge supporter and is Lyme fighter herself. She fits in perfectly with our family, both her and Allison do!
Lastly (but not leastly) I am thankful for my boyfriend, Andrew. He understands fully what I am going through. Coincidentally his mom had Lyme, but even if she hadn't I know Andrew would understand and still stand beside me through my sickness. When I am with him, even in my worse days, he makes me forget my pain. His smile calms my nerves and is so full of care it melts my heart. There is no doubt in my mind, that no matter what I'm going through, he will be there to hold my hand. He protects me, stands up for me, and is my knight in shining armor.
To all of you I love you so much. Thank you for being in my life, putting up with my sickness and growing and changing with me through the last year. I couldn't have done it without you, each and every one of you, at all. Thank you so much for saving my life.