I think most of you would agree that the year 2015 has been an incredibly taxing, stressful, and life-changing year for myself and my family. I was diagnosed with an incurable disease, I lost feeling in my legs, began having seizures, and had to quit teaching, I had to leave my family for ten weeks to seek treatment, we sold our house and moved, Wes changed jobs, Parker started preschool, both kiddos started new daycares, I lost Gus, my parents were both diagnosed with Lyme Disease, my kids could also have it (we will cross that bridge eventually), and those are just a few of the things we’ve had to deal with this year.
I don’t regret the hand I’ve been dealt. I don’t regret seeking treatment and making those life-changing decisions. I know that if I hadn’t acted aggressively, I would not be here today to celebrate the beginning of a new year.
Some still doubt that I was ever “that sick”, and some think I’m not sick anymore, but the people that I love and care about understand that my battle with Lyme Disease is really just beginning. I’m not angry at those that have their doubts. I’m not angry at those that are ignorant about a disease that hasn’t yet touched their lives. I understand. I WAS that person. I had no idea what Lyme Disease was until it slapped me in the face with a two by four.
As I reflect, it saddens me to admit that I’ve lost a lot of people this year. But, I have gained so much more in return. It is sad to think that there are people out there that used to be my friends but are no longer, that some of my extended family think I am making this whole thing up, and that most of the primary care doctors still don’t think this disease even exists. But, it’s all about perspective and ironically, I believe that I am the “lucky” one. I’ve never thought of myself as lucky, in fact, quite the opposite. I’ve never won at bingo, lottery tickets, cake walks, drawings, etc. but what I have learned this year is that life has nothing to do with luck and it has everything to do with PERSPECTIVE.
I cannot imagine my life now without Lyme Disease. I wrote in a blog months ago that I would have to find a “new normal” and that is exactly what I have done. It’s been hard. It’s been challenging. It’s been discouraging and at times I’ve felt hopeless, but even through all of this one thing has remained the same and that is simply this, “life will never turn out the way you plan it, but it has the possibilities to turn out better than we could ever have imagined.” I thank God everyday for giving me another chance at life.
Lyme Disease has wrecked havoc on my body, but it can’t destroy my spirit. It can’t take away the joy I feel when I hear my kiddos laughing, or the hugs I get from my hubby, or the support of my parents, friends, family, and even complete strangers. It can’t take away my desires to get better and once again return to work and help others. And, most importantly, it can’t take from me my love for life.
One thing that I realized this year is that I am NOT my disease. Yes, it takes a lot of time, money, and dedication for me to maintain where I am on this journey, but I would never introduce myself as “Christina, the chic that has Lyme Disease.”
So, as I say goodbye to 2015, I am so excited to tell all of you that 2016 is going to be MY YEAR. Things are already starting to shift and I cannot wait to see where we end up.