In my shoes for a second.
2 ½ years ago
Picture waking up with your body sore and tingling, it’s still doing that as you climb in the car and head to the hospital. When you go into the waiting room, you notice everyone around you is not okay in some way. The room is pale, everything, everyone is pale. A pale doctor walks in, speaks in a colorless voice to your mother. He leads you down a hallway. Pale, of course.
You just want to sleep.
There are voices and sparks swirling around you, everything is a haze until the doctor taps your knee and you open your eyes to blurry forms. He’s asking you questions, your mother looks pensive and scared as you just shrug out all your answers. Your brain can’t process his words. Finally, a question you can answer.
--what doesn’t feel good?--
Your brain slowly clicks words into their places of meaning. It takes a long time.
“Everything. please let me go home now”.
2 weeks later
You’re in the car again, because the results are in. Because on your way home from the hospital, your mother told you you’re going to see another doctor and get the same test for the third time and you nodded---
You just wanted to sleep.
But the results are in and you’re not okay and will the doctor please stop giving you that sympathetic look?! She tries to hand your mother a pamphlet and mom refuses it, turns her face away from you. You catch the words “Incurable disease” in big letters before the paper is hidden away again. Hear
“To get better, you will first feel worse. IF you get better.”
And you realize
Nothing will ever be the same again.
Fast forward a month
Wake up in the morning only because the pain in your head makes you want to scream. Your body is numb in some spots and aching in others. You try to look around your room except everything is a huge blur. You took the clock out a while ago, there’s no point when you can’t read it. Call for your mother, just like when you were little still. Your eyes fill with tears when she comes in, because she can hardly walk by herself and you can’t remember or see what your own mother looks like. Try to stop crying as she carries your 12 year old body down the stairs and sets you on the couch, because you can’t do either of those things yourself anymore. Hear her pull out a chair and fall into it. You just want this to be over.
Another two months
You’ve been treating for three months and nothing feels better. You force yourself out of bed, slide down the stairs to the kitchen. Try as hard as you can to pretend nothing is wrong, pretend you’re not holding yourself up on a chair as you make your little sister breakfast so your mother doesn’t have to. Take your medicine, 9 tinctures and 7 pills that are pointless because you’re never going to get better. Think about going up to soak in a bath and maybe just not coming back. It’d be so easy to just keep your face under until you are no more. But you don’t.
Because of your family.
Instead, you try to smile when your father comes home, let him carry you to your room. Hear him crying after he thinks you’ve fallen asleep.
A year and a half
You feel a little better now. You can see and walk and sometimes you even talk and smile. Physically, you are much better. Mentally, you’re back in the doctor’s office, or letting your parents carry you because you have no other choice. You are deeply depressed and still considering suicide. But you don’t.
Because of your family.
1 month ago
It’s been almost 2 ½ years. You’ve undergone 5 different treatments, blurry or nonexistent vision, memory loss. You lost your ability to walk, talk, smile. You had migraines all the time.
And now finally, you’re done.
You feel good now, like you can do anything! Your mom and brother are better too! At the idea of going back to what you just finished, fear takes over. So you don’t even consider it.
You’re still depressed.
You have on a very strong mask. 99% of people can’t see you’re wearing it. You’re wearing this mask because you are falling again. You don’t want to, not at all. But that won’t stop it.
So you deny it.
You don’t tell anyone.
You don’t want to admit that you’ve started treatment again. That you’re going backwards and this time the medicine isn’t working because the Lyme has built up a resistance to it, just like it did with all the others, because it’s smart like that, smarter than you---
You don’t mention anything when your boyfriend asks you a question and it takes you a moment to answer because your brain is slowing down again. You don’t say how this sends terror ripping through your chest. You don’t ask for help when you have a dizzy moment or your vision leaves and your body crumbles for a second.
You don’t tell a single person.
Because that would be admitting it’s winning.
Because that knowledge will only hurt those you care about.
Because they shouldn’t worry about you.
Because you can’t go back to that. It might kill you.
This fear and sickness is part of me. This is what haunts me, the shadow figure that follows me. It’s not something you ever forget. I am still very depressed. There are still days where I think about how easy it would be to end my existence, terrible days where I’m tempted to. But I don’t.
Because of my family.
There’s no happy ending to this. This is the truth and it’s not happy. There’s no ending because this story is still going.
Guess we’ll see where it ends.
- Stargirl's blog
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Nov 07, 2021
I really connected with this because I know a few people who have Lyme and one of those people I'm so very close with and it's horrible to see her suffer everyday because she has had it for so many years.