Dedicated to my family

I’ve been noticing little glimmers of love and generosity since Lyme has become my best friend and worst enemy. It’s hard to keep a positive outlook at times when you notice new symptoms cropping up, a reminder of how clever and persistent Lyme disease can be. But finding generosity in my life is one of the ways I use to keep myself from going down that dark rabbit hole and never coming back up to feel the sun.

I recently received free samples of soap from two different companies. One is Dr. Bronner’s, and the other is a local company here in Connecticut called Soap What. I had sent out emails asking for coupons so I could try their products, and they quickly responded to me with free samples! I’ve been keeping a loose “soap study” on the different soaps to see how my body reacts. So far, the peppermint Dr. Bronner’s leaves me feeling tingly, but the mild baby one, their shaving soap, and the lavender bar seem to agree with me. I put the bar of Citrus and Herb from Soap What in my bathroom. It smells really nice and doesn’t seem to bother my hands when I wash with it. I’ll continue on with my little study and hopefully find some more positive results and options.

I’ve received so many cards, gifts, and gift cards from co-workers and family. My daughter made me a cute card the other day that I put by my bedside. And I also received two letters from former students last week that brought a smile to my face and made me chuckle. I enjoy these little mementos. They remind me that I need to continue to spread these little joys with others. Taking the time to send little cards and notes to family and friends is a small action that can really lift one’s spirits.

My family and extended family, on both sides, have been very supportive, always asking how I am doing, even though I “look good”.  And that’s the paradox with Lyme. You look good, but inside, you can and often feel lousy. Eating for me is a chore and not a joy anymore, since I am so limited to what my body can handle. Family events can be challenging on my system, but life goes on. I don’t want to be sitting on the bench if I can be out their playing, even if it’s not a home run inning for me at every game.

We had some family here the other night for a little get together. (My husband is the youngest of ten children from an Italian family, so even just a few of his siblings here makes for a big party!) One of his sisters brought a dairy and sugar free dessert for me to try. When we went to her house the next day, she had purchased a special kind of rice chip for me as well. I really appreciated those little gestures. It just affirmed to me that people are thinking of me and are generous with their time in their own way.

When an extended family member was leaving that picnic, she expressed some encouraging and supportive words to me, handing me a Mother Mary stone from Lourdes she dug out of her purse. She told me to rub it and say a little prayer to Mother Mary to help me. I did as I was told, even though I am not officially Catholic. (I think I may go get one of those stones to keep with me. It may just be one of those generous links that will help get me well.)

It’s these little twinkles of love that occur that signal to me of the importance of family connections. I speak with one of my aunts quite regularly, either on the phone or through our Scrabble games on the computer. We check in with each other about our lives and share so many laughs that my stomach hurts. One of my sisters has been sending recipes for me to try, and I keep in touch with other family members via email as well.  My niece and I had a lengthy conversation recently about LUSH, a company that makes all natural makeup, skin, and hair products.  We’re going to take a trip to the mall soon as she is a LUSH expert!  My mother visited a few weeks ago with plants for my garden, and when I visit my parents, they always want to feed me, making sure to ask and prepare  foods I can eat. And my husband has been a great support through all of this. From taking over cooking and cleaning, to buying extra meat for my meals, to checking in each day to find out if I need anything , to just giving a hug or kiss, he’s always there for me and with me when whether I’m having a good day or a more tired one.

It’s the little moments of generosity that make living with a chronic illness a bit more bearable.

Yours in Lyme Adventures,