Reprinted with the kind permission of Paula Jackson Jones.
Lyme disease is on the rise. It’s everywhere you look and it’s touching everyone that we know. It’s a complicated illness. It’s a silent invisible illness. It’s a deadly illness.
Last night, in the middle of the night, I woke sobbing. I sat up and had a hard time catching my breath. It wasn’t a physical struggle that I was dealing with ~ it was an emotional struggle.
You see last night I dreamt about the night that I was laying on the floor of my bathroom with the knowledge that on this night I was going to die. It was that night that I made peace with the fact that I was not going to beat this illness. I made peace with the fact that I was no longer going to struggle on a daily basis with the physical pain, with the mental confusion, with the condescending and ignorant medical providers who refused to look deeper at my symptoms… who refuse to look at me and to see me as someone whose life had value.
You see last night, in my dream, I stood in the door of my bathroom and I watched the shell of the woman that I used to be giving up her fight and accepting her fate. I listen to her tears as she cried out to her Maker one last time and pleaded for relief from agony that her mind and body was riddled with. As much as she loved her family, as much as she knew how devastated they would be when she was gone, she was ready to go home. She was done fighting.
As I stood in my bathroom doorway and watched her, I joined her with my own tears. Because I knew what her dreams look like, I knew the goals and aspirations that she had for her life and my heart was aching for her. As I stood there and watched her, I thought about all the hardships she had been through and survived up to this moment ~ and I wanted to scream out and remind her to hang on, to not give up because she has overcome before and she will overcome again!!!!
And as I opened my mouth to speak to her I was quickly silenced by an unfamiliar sound…. she was singing. Singing? Yes, she was no longer crying and she was now singing. She was singing Amazing Grace and I knew in that moment that I had witnessed something indescribable, that someone without faith would never understand ~ I knew in the deepest part of my soul, in the darkest recesses of my mind that her prayers had been answered.
And that was when I woke sobbing in my bed… because I remembered with absolute clarity how she felt when she woke the next morning still on the floor of the bathroom, with a renewed sense of hope. It was faith based, it came with no explanation but when she woke she knew that she was going to survive this. She didn’t know what the rest of her journey was going to look like but instead of preparing to die, she began to will herself to live.
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Her journey to this day continues, her story is not done being written. Everyday she shares pieces of herself, what she has been through in hopes of encouraging and inspiring others not to give up.
Would I have preferred not to have gone down this road? Absolutely!! This is one of the toughest battles I have ever faced and fought. I have lost so much and yet I am still able to sing.
If you are reading this ~ I want you to know that it’s okay to sing. I know the pain that you are feeling, I know the weight of the burden that you are carrying, I know the struggle that you face everyday that you wake up after praying that you would be called home during the night. With these pockets of time that you are blessed with, with every new day, I want to encourage you to make the most of what you have. Sing through your tears. Sing through your pain. Sing through your sorrow.
Paula Jackson Jones is a survivor of late stage neurological Lyme Disease complicated by four co-infections (Babesia, Bartonella, Rocky Mtn Spotted Fever and Erlichiosis) that were misdiagnosed for over 18 months before she connected with a Lyme literate provider ~ she was doctor #24 and she forever changed Paula’s life.
Paula then began a journey that she didn’t understand but quickly learned and discovered that she has a passion for supporting and educating others. In May of 2014, she co-founded and became the President of Midcoast Lyme Disease Support & Education, which has been a full-time, year-round job for her. She enjoys sharing her personal experiences and what she has learned on this journey with others, afflicted by or looking to prevent tick-borne disease exposure.
She has overcome many hurdles in her lifetime, from domestic violence to addiction to chronic illness and has chosen to use her experiences to help others, revealing her scars, sharing her personal story and showing them that they too can overcome.
She is a dog-loving, optimistic #Lymestrong extrovert who can do anything she puts her mind to and she loves connecting with people! You can learn more about her and her work at: http://lymetimewithpaulajacksonjones.blogspot.com/.