The song Brave by Sarah Bareilles had just come out and was frequently played on our local radio channel when I first began having the tertiary symptoms of Lyme disease. That song quickly became my anthem. I played it whenever I needed a boost of encouragement. It takes a certain amount of bravery to go through something like this and I am not a brave person at all. In fact, as a child, I remember my father telling me to "tough it out" as he compared me to "pitiful Polly Pureheart."
Many days, I just want to give up the fight. I'll admit to being a wimp, a sissy, and a Prima Donna. But, going through this disease has taught me something. I have become more sensitive to the pain and suffering of others.
I think that what my father was trying to say was, it's time to get some adult coping skills. Stop sulking around when things don't go your way, you don't feel well, or you can't solve a problem immediately. My father wanted me to develop a thicker skin, toughen up a little, and be able to face some of the harsh realities of life.
Lyme disease is something that changes you. It breaks you down. It lingers like an everlasting flu. It breaks you physically, mentally, and emotionally. This disease chips away at your personality and self-esteem and self-confidence. You have to develop coping skills. The things that used to be important, like having a clean, beautiful, and organized house are just not important anymore. Wearing make up and caring about my appearance is less of a priority. Just getting out of bed and making it through an other work day seems monumental.
Now that I am starting to get better, and feel less pain, I find myself wishing that I could live my life over. I should have celebrated more often. I should have smiled more. I should have hugged my son and other people more. I should have encouraged him more and made a bigger deal of his accomplishments. From now on I plan to do that.