“I don’t want to alarm you or anything but I think I have Lyme’s Disease”. I blurted this out to my hubby, (who by the way, is very hard to alarm) after about a week or more of enduring some of the most bizarre symptoms I have ever experienced.
The end of May I saw a bug bite on my ankle that looked strange and I wondered if it was a tick bite. I had learned that Lyme’s is very prevalent out here in New Jersey and the signs to look for. Deer tick are extremely small, they don’t always attach and often there is a bulls eye rash. I had a white circle without the red around the edges so I dismissed it and left town for a month.
After about 6 weeks, I began to experience numbness in my limbs, muscle fatigue, sharp shooting pains in my face, exhaustion and an inability to focus without feeling very foggy or disoriented, etc. This was not something I wanted to deal with so I decided if I would ignore it, maybe it would all go away.
Fast forward to an evening walk when I finally had some energy. It was very hot and humid and I felt good enough that when I returned, I asked Rick if he wanted to swim in the pool. We were swimming laps and all was well until about the 5th lap. All of a sudden I got a cramp in my left foot, then my right one. I tried to massage them out with little success. By the time I got out of the pool, I knew that I had pressed my luck too far. As I hobbled back to the house, I was keenly aware that my muscles were beyond fatigued. Something was clearly wrong and needed attention.
It doesn’t help when you have bizarre symptoms and you google them to try and diagnose yourself. Just sayin’! I went from MS to ALS to neurological issues I had never heard of. It also doesn’t help to go into denial and decide maybe it will go away. What does help is when you talk to people who look you straight in the eye and say things you don’t want to hear such as, “you need to go see a doctor”.
All this drama to tell you that I did! About $3,000 later with full physical and blood work, etc. nothing really showed up (which by the way, is one of my top reasons I usually put off going to see a doctor!) Forget the colonoscopy, mammogram and bone density tests she prescribed for good measure (maybe in another decade?!) Did I mention we have two weddings in the next couple of months? Yeah… She did find I had a left over urinary infection that needed continued treatment and tests showed I was low in Vitamin D but that was it. I found out later that most doctors just put you on the Lyme’s med and don’t run the expensive test because the antibiotic isn’t a problem to take. So glad to know this!
Because Lyme’s tests aren’t very reliable and often don’t show it is in your system, I called the doctor back and asked her to put me on the antibiotic for it anyway. It is too risky to not treat it since there can be severe long term health problems as a result..
I am now into week 3 of the antibiotic and am feeling much better. Whether or not it was Lyme’s I guess we don’t know. It doesn’t matter much to me. As long as I am able to function at my usual speed, I’ll go with it!
The few weeks that I was struggling with all of this made me keenly aware of how very fragile life is. For most of my life I have made my body do what I wanted it to do. This health issue would not let all the will power I could muster force my body to cooperate.
It has caused me to reflect on several of my friends who have some serious health problems and I now have a deeper understanding and compassion for them. I cannot imagine how hard it is for them to live with a chronic disease.
I also have begun to realize that none of us knows the number of our days or how long our health will last. We cannot assume that we have tomorrow or next week. In one doctor visit, one phone call, one wrong turn on a road, our lives can change forever.
No doubt my little health trial was nothing compared to so many other’s. I read of a young father who shared his story of discovering he had ALS. It is hard to comprehend what this must be like for him and the fear he has to face daily. No, I cannot complain, I can only be thankful that today I can function.
I am more aware now than ever that I am middle age and eventually it all wears out. I am in a race against time. This is why when my friend says “are you up for this hike?” I will say “yes” because today I can do it! I might not be able to tomorrow. Today I can call that person, send that encouraging note, tell someone about Jesus. I have to do it now because I might not have tomorrow. I don’t know what is coming but I don’t want any regrets.
We’ve all heard that life is too short. Well, it is becoming apparent to me that this is true. We have to live it purposefully now. Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow because we are just given today. He tells us that we don’t know what tomorrow may bring. So maybe that is why some say “don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today.” There might not be a tomorrow.
Today hike, swim, laugh, run, give a hug, encourage someone, get on the plane, quit putting off inviting those people over and do it now! Forget worrying about having the perfect meal, the perfect house, the perfect circumstances. Life is too short. You might not be here tomorrow. They might not be here tomorrow. Good grief, the house might not be here tomorrow!
There are things that can wait. Fear can wait. Put it off until tomorrow. Worry and anxiety can be postponed for another day. There is much too much to do in the living of today to waste any time on emotional drains. Put them off. Procrastinate. Let everything go that holds you back from living life to the fullest.
Recently a family friend lost both of his parents very suddenly and unexpectedly. Right before his father’s 90th birthday, he and his wife were gone. However, a couple of weeks before they died they had flown to Alaska and had a wonderful time with family building memories. Earlier in the year they had been to Oregon. They never quit living up until the day they died. They went, they saw, they celebrated life.
An amazing and vibrant couple in their 50’s just died in a car wreck this past week. They had founded “The Hope Center” in Omaha, NE to help struggling youth. They loved each other deeply, invested in their children, grandchildren and community in ways that would exhaust the average person. They lived to pour their lives into others and their legacy and sacrificial love was displayed time after time in the testimonies of those who have benefited from knowing them. They lived life to the fullest and now their time here is done. One of their last events was their sons wedding. One of their last pictures was of them together on the dance floor.
Don’t miss that last dance.
I don’t know the number of my days but I praise God for these milestones and reminders that as long as I have breath, I want to live life purposefully and well. I want to glorify my Savior, love people and be a participant, not a spectator.
So today I live it thanking God for wake up calls. Thanking God for Lyme’s. Thanking God for life.
Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom”