It’s been a full two months since I began Lyme treatment and I’m feeling extra contemplative this week. I’ve been trying to put the feelings, hours, experience into words and it’s just not as simple as one would hope. or maybe it is, but the words don’t seem like enough? Like a cake without frosting. Only this isn’t quite as happy as cake.
Simply put, treatment is serious business. Most days I feel worse than before I started treatment, but that’s expected. And somehow that’s supposed to it easier to swallow. These bugs have been throwing a full-blown mardi gras for the past four years and now this girl gets to foot the bill. It’s delightful, I tell you. Just delightful.
My specialist takes a staged approach to treatment that we’ve felt really good about. There’s no throwing me into the hard-core meds right away, but rather a slow peeling back of the layers of damage so we can take steady steps toward wellness.
Yet, regardless of the healing strategy of one’s specialist, each patient will experience what’s called herxheimer reactions, or herx for short. This reaction is the body’s response to the overwhelming amount of toxins being released by the dying bacteria. Essentially: when a new layer of bacteria dies, I will feel it.
While herxing, Lyme patients feel the worst they’ve ever felt. and when I say it’s bad, I mean it. My day to day continues to be a struggle from the pain levels I reach to the myriad of symptoms I experience…and the herx days are leaps above this daily grind.
During a herx my symptoms come in like a flood. Pain level shoots through the roof, my energy level plummets and as a result of all of that, my patience wears thin, tears are pretty much inevitable, and the things that bring the most comfort are gentle hugs from Trev and my blanket. Aside from extra measures to detox my body, I simply have to rest and wait it out.
On the other side of those darker days, I’ve been leaning into gratitude.
Gratitude for little things like having strength to cook a meal or two during the pastweek. A few cooler days (come on, fall!). An extra evening with my Trevs at home. While I grieve over the darkness and pain of the trenches I wade through, I see God even there and I’m grateful for the assurance of his strength within me.
There’s a swelling in my heart for the things made beautiful through the flame of refinery. Though painful, I know it’s in my weakest moments, in my brokenness, that all the walls I tend to work so hard to build up come crumbling down.
There, His light and grace pierce my soul in the best way possible. And those walls crumbling seem to be the tangible curtain drop for the next act of Abba’s trans-formative work in my heart. I think we’re on act 19237, as I can be a slow learner. . .
Do I like this “season”? (Quotes because I don’t really know what to call this…)
No, I really don’t. It’s hard and it’s already been a long journey. Yet, I have to hope and trust and be open to whatever God has for me in this. Regardless of how long the journey is, I am clinging to hope that it won’t always be like this. I won’t always be so dependent on others and I won’t always live in such pain.
For now, He has given me the ministry of sharing my time through listening, empathy, and prayer…and I want to be faithful in it. This experience has taught me even greater compassion and I’m so thankful for the ways he’s allowed me to connect with others through this pain and struggle. We all need reminders that we’re not alone!
Here’s to finding the little gifts and leaning into gratitude.