To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. ~Buddha
I felt like bursting into tears during Pilates class this morning as I struggled through lunges and planks on the reformer. The joints in my knees, wrists, and hips were achy and unyielding despite a good ten minutes of stretching before I got on the reformer. The pain was unbearable.
I’ve taken over 1,000 advanced reformer classes; my muscles and joints are familiar with the movement and motion expected for each exercise, but today, they didn’t want to cooperate, instead, pain served as a reminder I had been neglecting my health over the past four weeks.
I think it started when I left for London. I had sorted and counted out the 57 supplements I take each day, carefully labeling each packet with the appropriate day and time. I also packed the small bottles of liquid microbial and tucked them alongside the 20 supplement packets. Despite my planning, I failed to take them consistently each day.
I was on track the first two days, but by the third day, I just didn’t feel like taking them. I needed a break; I had been doling out supplements twice daily for my sons and for myself for over two years, it was tedious. I knew my husband was handling the responsibility for the boys while I was away and the feeling of not having to handle that chore was liberating, enough so I figured I could get away with not taking mine.
In London, I enjoyed wine, cheese, and bread each evening, foods that cause inflammation and flare-ups. In the morning, I wasn’t having my usual morning celery juice and mid-morning smoothie, instead, I was skipping breakfast and making do with a flat white or an Americano. I didn’t think about Lyme or worry about my health. I didn’t miss taking my supplements or cleaning the juicer and washing the Vitamix, instead, I just enjoyed the feeling of being temporarily separated from Lyme and the feeling of normal.
When I arrived home, it was back to the routine. My husband had taken on the role of supplement dosing for the boys in the evening, which left me with just the morning dosing – a huge help to me and one less thing for me to worry about, but now that I am home, I have done a backslide with my health by taking supplements inconsistently, skipping my daily celery juice, and allowing gluten and dairy to creep back into my diet.
I feel lousy. I cannot explain the reason for the backslide other than I am tired. I am tired of the work that is required. I am tired of thinking about Lyme. I am tired of taking care of the three of us. I feel overwhelmed and want to give up. I know what it’s like to feel good, but it takes a tremendous amount of work to sustain it.
I remember the first time I climbed Half Dome and reaching the top of the sub-dome. The hike up the Mist Trail was eight miles and it had been challenging. I looked up and saw the long line of cables snaking 400 feet to the top. The idea of not going to the top (quitting?!) was a thought I had wrestled with – the cables were daunting and scary – but not knowing what I would see or experience at the top of Half Dome would leave me with regrets.
I remember my standing on the top of the sub-dome and my friend Roxanne asking “Karen, why did you come to Yosemite?”
“To climb Half Dome!” I had yelled at her. Then I pulled myself together, grabbed those cables and started climbing.
Each day, there is always something about Lyme: a text from a friend whose husband had a tick bite. A message from a friend whose daughter was bitten and had a bulls-eye rash. A conversation with the guy from the San Mateo County Vector and their recent tick study. Lyme in the news and more cases of Lyme and Bartonella diagnoses. The barrage of Lyme information overwhelms and scares me. I am afraid I will never be Lyme-free and enduring pain while being trapped in a body that won’t heal.
These past four weeks feel like I have paused at the summit of my Lyme journey: The burden of treatment. Feeling tapped of energy. Loss of motivation to take care of myself properly. Feeling stuck and isolated. And now I am looking at those cables again. Why did I start Lyme treatment? To get better.
I am here to fight Lyme, for myself and my sons. Regardless of how painful and difficult it is, it’s time to get back on track and do what it takes to get healthy again. I’m grabbing the cables and heading to the top. No regrets.