When I was laying in bed month after month, I knew there was a possibility that I was dying or that I would be severely disabled for the rest of my life. Even so, I tried to hold on to hope that some kind of recovery was possible. I didn’t know of any severe Lyme patients who had been able to get 100% better and stay better. Relapses were all too common. Lyme doctors rarely talked about recovery and instead used the language of remission.
The most hopeful stories I heard were of people improving enough that they were able to live semi-normal lives if they were careful about pacing. But even the people who were able to regain functionality were left with a lifetime of bothersome symptoms ranging from fatigue to periodic seizures.
I thought the best I could hope for was a carefully monitored life where I would finally be able to see friends, do basic chores, and raise a small family or have a part time job. I would have very limited energy and need to be extremely careful about not overdoing it. I would probably experience several relapses throughout my life but if we caught them early they wouldn’t need to result in years of disability. That was my goal and it was a vastly more hopeful picture than my reality at the time.
I often wondered what I might do when I was finally in remission. Maybe I would be a part-time nutritionist. Maybe I would go to cosmetology school to become a hair stylist. Maybe I would start an Etsy store to sell my crochet projects. Maybe I would get certified to train service dogs.
I could see myself pursuing any one of those ideas, but things are very different now that I am coming back to life. Fortunately or unfortunately, the one dream I thought was finally dead is coming back to life with me. Almost as soon as I remembered what it felt like to have a body pulsing with energy, I wanted to dance again.
At first, this frustrated me greatly. I thought my dancer life was gone. I’m way too old to start over. I’m going to be terrible. No one has ever come back from 5 years of illness. Just leave me alone and let me live my new normal.
I wrestled with it for months. I tried to squash it with thoughts about how miserable, impossible and time consuming it would be to get back into dancing. It didn’t work. I prayed about it a lot and asked God to take it away. That didn’t work either.
I talked to Brett about it but instead of helping me to shoot the idea down, he encouraged it. Ugh! He asked me what the first step would be if I wanted to explore the possibility of dancing again. I told him I would probably start Pilates classes so I could strengthen my core and get fit enough to take adult beginner ballet classes without risking injury or humiliation.
He reminded me that I don’t need to have it all figured out to take that first step. After all, signing up for Pilates lessons is something I’m unlikely to regret whether I end up dancing again or not. I couldn’t really argue with that… so I prayed about it some more and decided to go for it.
I started Pilates last Thursday and I love it! It felt so good to gently challenge my body again. The studio is in a new building and my instructor is really nice. I’m so excited to get stronger!
I don’t know for sure that I will be able to dance again but I do know that if I don’t at least try, I’ll always wonder what would have happened if I did. You can’t get very far in life if you’re unwilling to risk failure. After all, if I hadn’t taken a gamble on mold avoidance I wouldn’t be that rare Lyme patient who is actually recovering. I do hope that someday my story will prove that a 100% recovery is possible after all. We’ll see…
By the way, Brett and I made a beautiful PDF of my favorite resources for suffering souls. I created the content and he made it look fancy with his superduper graphic design skills. It’s available for free to my email subscribers. Click here to sign up and receive 5 Resources for the Suffering Soul.