Reprinted from JustLivingLikeThisWithLyme.com with the kind permission of Janice Perkins Fairburn. To read the original article, click here.
When a friend, who worked for the foreign services department of the State Department, was stationed in Costa Rica, my husband and I were able to visit her. A beautiful country where tourism thrives, we had my sister as private tour guides for the first few days. Then as she went back to work, we were on our own. I can speak a little Spanish, enough to get around on transportation and ask direction and order a cup of coffee with a tres leches cake!
Quickly, I found out that getting around in a city of almost a half million people was more difficult that it seemed. In order to tell the cab driver where she lived I had to read off a paragraph of information. There are no street addresses in San Jose. Even though some of the houses have numbers on them, they are strictly decoration or superstition.
Each neighborhood had a landmark, hers was a McDonalds. All directions for each house in that neighborhood began with that McDonalds. The directions to their house from the McDonalds was their actual address. Yes, I realize there are many countries in the world that function without a postal system, but I had never been in one that didn’t look like is should be.
So, what’s Costa Rica and the mail got to do with Lyme?
1. Looks can be deceiving.
They can be deceiving for doctors, for our loved ones and even for us. When you don’t look or act sick, people are less likely to believe that something is wrong. There needs to be some sort of evidence on the outside. Doctors who can’t see evidence in person or on lab tests immediately think it is psychotic or an emotional attention getter. We don’t have time to be sick, but we have time to die. I know perfectly functional people that right now don’t have a clue (or won’t listen when I try to give them one) that they are slowly breaking down from chronic illness. Because they are functioning they don’t have the “time” or “money” to slow down. Seriously, its like with a funeral. We don’t take the time to see family and friends as often as we should, but if someone dies, we rush to their funeral.
2. Everyone needs a neighborhood anchor point.
You will succeed in beating this wicked disease if you build a great toolbelt and have an anchor point. You need a loved one to listen and believe you unconditionally. You need a great doctor who might not know everything, but will not rest until you are well and has no issue with you building a team of doctors to help you heal. You need faith in God. Of all the people I meet in the Lyme community, the ones who are succeeding, who are still fighting, who still have hope have one thing in common. They have faith. They pray, they trust and they cling to the One who is in charge of it all.
3. Sometimes getting there takes longer than it should.
Don’t get discouraged by the fact that there is no direct route to healing. There is no one sized, one pill treatment that gets you back on your feet in weeks or months. Accept it. There is no system. There is no acceptable perfect treatment. Each person with Lyme must have a unique custom plan that their individual body needs to heal. You will get there. Accept that it is a journey. One day at a time. Don’t look backward, just look forward.
4. Directions to the same place could be different for everyone.
Here it is again. No one sized generic plan. Finding the right doctor and individual service is imperative to heal. Your body got broken down by Lyme for completely different reasons than mine. Both my kids are healing differently from each other and myself. We have all had the same pathogens, but different ailments from them. Use other’s knowledge and route to healing to help you build you personal program that will get your body out of the pit.
5. Sometimes there is only the hard way, there is no easy way anywhere around.
I know. I’m a rip the band-aid kind of girl and I’m not good a sugar coating anything. There is no nice way to say this. You must be prepared for how hard this might be. Friends will desert you, spouses will give up, family members will question everything you do, and you will have to do things you never thought possible or probably. This road will be hard. Just take that and move on. You still want to heal right? You still can heal. You can do this. There is more treatment options all the time, there are more doctors who know what they are doing. There is an army of support out there of people who are conquering this illness every day. Do not give up. You can do this.
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Janice Perkins Fairburn is a 41 year old married mother of 2. She discovered she had LYME disease about 2 1/2 years ago when she crashed against a wall HARD. She apparently had the slow workings of Lyme for over a decade because she gave everything she had to both her kids in the womb. They had been sick since birth and we had no idea what was going on with them. So in discovering her LYME, she figured out the kids had it too — actually they all had borellia, babesia, bartonella, West Nile Virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, micoplasma and parasites. It has been a hard road, one that almost took Janice's life as she hovered under 85 lbs, but it is one that has taught her great life lessons and strengthened her faith.