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Some days are worse than others, the long days of the valley. I rarely have mountaintop mornings since becoming sick with Lyme disease, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (say that 10 times fast), and chronic migraine.
Throw chronic widespread pain and fatigue into the mix and it’s any wonder I’m able to function at all — let alone do it as well as I (mostly) do.
Even though I’m able to raise three kids, take care of a home, enjoy a husband, write words, be a friend, and daughter, and dream big dreams for my future, the fact remains that I’m chronically ill.
Every day is a fight.
My body’s not been the same since one ill-fated morning 14 years ago when I allowed the family pet to sleep with me. A tick crawled off our sweet dog and onto my inner ankle. At least that’s my best assumption since I didn’t go to bed with the tick but woke up with it.
You can’t turn back time, you can only move forward
I didn’t understand the dangers many ticks can carry within their tiny little bodies. I know it well now and wish like hell I could go back to my pregnant younger self 14 years ago and warn her to go get antibiotics asap and get this hellish disease behind her before it was too late.
But as we know, there’s no turning back time. You can’t transport yourself back and warn the person you were then. You can only live with what you know now and move forward.
Onward and upward.
Since being diagnosed with POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome — thank god for a spell checker) my health has plummeted. My doctor is suspicious that the POTS came about from the Lyme disease infection that I’ve been fighting for well over a decade.
Whatever the case, POTS also triggers my migraine attacks. So, frankly, my body is wrapped up tight around disease and syndromes and it’s dang hard.
If you’re like me and your health is unstable, and/or your body feels like it’s fighting against you, can I share some encouragement for your heart today?
Let me speak some strength into your weary bones today
I used to think my body was against me, out to get me. I used to get upset at her, I used to be frustrated with her. I used to long for a different body, one that I had before the bite.
And though I have those days still, I’ve discovered a newfound love and admiration for this body that carries me through life.
Things to admire about the body
→ I now see my body as a fighter, keeping me breathing.
→ I see the fighting she does for me and thank her.
→ I understand how every day she is working to keep me alive and with my family.
→ I wrap my arms around the 75 pounds she’s gained while sick and think she’s beautiful.
→ I look at the piles of hair loss after each shower and think, you’re beautiful with hair or without hair.
→ I thank her for allowing me to walk around the block even if every step hurts.
→ And when I feel that I am dying, that I won’t wake up this time, I bless her for how she doesn’t doubt her ability to keep me sustained and I somehow get another day on earth.
Oh sure, I wish I could run a marathon, wish I could even take long vigorous walks.
I wish I could fit into my old clothes, and see that old healthier body again just one more time.
I wish I could experience a full breath, a day without fatigue, and a moment without pain.
I may never get to experience a healthy body again.
If you hear anything in this story, hear this
I want you to understand, that your body isn’t killing you. Even with autoimmune disorders, much of your body is still trying to keep you alive. Your body hasn’t betrayed you, your body is your best friend. Your body isn’t broken and ugly, it’s different now and beautiful as always.
I want you to know that you are a fighter, a warrior, and you are wholly and fully seen and known.
What you live with daily won’t go to waste.
Your story matters and I hope by my telling a bit of my story it will encourage you to also tell yours.
The world needs our stories.
The world needs to know our pain and our perspective.
The world is a better place with you in it.0
Hi, I’m Nell. First, I’m a wife and mother, and a believer in Jesus. I’m also a writer of words, maker of art, and chronically ill warrior. This space is where I document this one big beautiful and flawed life. Essays and diary entries, poetry and art, and peaks into my heart. Welcome.