Anyone can end up in hell: by the choices you make or by the luck of the lottery. Since nobody's going to reach in to pluck you out of hell and plop you into paradise, you have two choices: stay there and be miserable or claw your way out---one inch at a time. That clawing thing sounds much more fun.
Living with and treating Lyme disease sends you down some dark roads. It dumbs you down so much at times I felt like my IQ dropped 30 points. And Internet, I don't even have 3 points to spare. Yet, lately I've noticed the most subtle of changes in the right direction. My dog walks are getting longer and I'm not in excruciating pain when I squat down to reach the lower shelf at the grocery store. I picked up my camera the other day after months of neglect (because I actually forgot how to use it), and behold, the shots I intended actually appeared. (That's Loki blown out behind the wild flowers on Nitwit Trail.) I even caught myself multi-tasking yesterday.
In treating Lyme, every little adjustment makes a huge difference, in either direction. When I first got diagnosed last year, I told myself "Never another bug bite again," and doused my clothing in Deet on a walk in the woods. Then I broke out in a rash for weeks. That was just one early lesson in how Lyme disease prevents me from metabolizing toxins the way a healthy person can. It's taken me a year to learn that the inches toward recovery or regression are all around me. Every choice I make, every piece of food I put in my mouth, every product I use and every amount of energy I spend, matters.
In the last year, I've had about 3 glasses of wine. I don't miss the alcohol, but I miss the ritual of pairing wine with cuisine. I know that alcohol is just one more stress on the liver and its got enough to handle. The wine can wait. Besides, it gets better with age. That is, if I can keep Mr. Wild Dingo out of the wine cellar.
I'm still on a learning curve for managing the side effects of treatment. They aren't pretty. Yet, my eyes grow sleepy at night, as they should, for the first time in over 6 months, and I'm working hard to keep it that way.
Realistically, I won't be surprised if and when I have a set back. But I'm in this to win, fighting for every little inch of improvement.
After all, Lyme Disease or not, life is just a game of inches.
A Game of Inches