If it’s one thing that people don’t like to feel, it’s the feeling of being abandoned.
When you are diagnosed with any severe or chronic illness, that feeling of abandonment can compound your suffering so much that you lose sight of the fight that you’re in. The final bell seems to be looming over your head, and yet you don’t have the energy to get up and give that final knock out punch that is so desperately needed to end your anguish and misery.
I’ve been so fortunate to have many people in my corner. My husband has been my number one cheerleader: encouraging me to keep looking for new avenues to heal,taking over many of my responsibilities early on when I was literally bedridden, and even picking up the pieces on better days when I still need to get back to bed. He’s gone to doctor’s appointments with me when he himself hasn’t felt well either, all the while carrying the burden of his own job and other responsibilities of our family and extended family.
Family members have been very empathetic as well. Phone calls, emails, cards, and hugs have all helped to boost my spirits. When visiting my parents, they ask what I’d like to eat and supply me with huge hamburgers and glasses of water, knowing how sensitive my system is towards any “normal” diet that includes carbs, fruits and dairy. When my mother in law was ill in the hospital before she died, she asked how I was feeling. That was such a moment for me, and one that I won’t forget.
My co-workers surprised me with a beautiful basket filled with cards from my students, some snack items, a beautiful handmade prayer shawl and wooden cross from Bethlehem, and several gift cards with very generous amounts on them to use while I am home. I’ve received numerous cards from people as well. My boss has also been very understanding of my need to be home instead of coming back to work prematurely. All of these people have really help me stay connected and not go down that dark pathway of abandonment.
I’ve found solace in other victims of Lyme as well. Misery loves company, but when you are dealing with an illness that is like the invisible man in your system, you need all the company you can get. I stay positive by writing about my illness, adding bits of my own sarcasm and humor to my prose. I don’t want to make anyone more miserable than they already are in dealing with their own issues. I want to share my own misfortunes that I’ve brought on myself to help others avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve fallen into. For example, I recently made nut bread with almond flour because I wanted some kind of “fun food” to eat, and I thought this would be a healthy alternative. And it would have been….if I didn’t react to nuts! But that’s what Lyme does to you…it makes you do things without thinking clearly about it. I also want to share my successes and insights through my writing to those who may or may not understand the complexities of Lyme.
My medical doctors have tried to help me, but their expertise hasn’t been enough to rid me of this nasty bug that is still ravaging my body and trying to steal my spirit. I’ve found that while they haven’t abandoned me per se, it seems like they don’t really understand all my issues in full color, resulting in lingering symptoms and a lack of supportive guidance to get me treated properly.
I’ve found more help from my naturopath and dietician for reasons unknown to me. All I can really point to is that they seemed to have listened to everything I’ve said, and I’ve done a lot of homework prior to meeting with them as well as afterwards to help get me to the head of the class in this university of Lyme.
Medical abandonment is a striking place to be in, but it is also a catalyst to push forward and find new pathways to healing. I’d often heard of naturopathic care, but I never really knew anything about it. I was always a little leery of it, thinking that it could amount to a little bit of fairy dust and luck and not real science. But that is the kind of care I’ve been used to: go to a medical doctor, explain your symptoms, and you’ll get some medicine to get better. At one point in my illness, I became so ill with what seemed to be the flu. When I went to my primary doctor, he did prescribe an antibiotic, which helped my flu-like symptoms, but it also caused a new symptom to erupt, which had to be addressed with yet another medication. Should I have abandoned my medical doctor initially and gone to my naturopath? I don’t know.
I’m not ready to give up on the medical community as a result of my experiences just yet. But I am willing to discard my own ill-informed views. I think that being open to many viewpoints and finding the right combination of therapies is a better approach than simply relying on one type of treatment plan that is commonly accepted. That is truly the only way that I can get better and abandon this horrible illness called Lyme once and for all.
Yours in Lyme Adventures,