Thursday, July 10, 2008

Living With Lyme -or- Perspective is Everything

Last week my husband and I discovered that we both have Lyme Disease. The area in which we live is a veritable deer tick haven, and we know many people who have this disease. We started our round of doxycycline and now we're hoping that the initial ten day course of the medicine will get us on the road to recovery.

Lyme disease seems to be one of those "personalized" things. My husband's symptoms are different than mine, which makes for some interesting teasing around here. This past Saturday, which happened to be about 30 hours or so after we started our medicine, we both felt just awful. Joints ached, muscles hurt, heads ached, and we were utterly exhausted. Yet we both had things that had to be done. Saturdays are usually major sermon-prep days for my guy, and activity-filled days for my kids, most of whom I chauffer around. We made it through the day and collapsed into bed. Sunday is a crazy busy day for us, and thankfully we felt much better, except my honey's Lyme-induced brain fog made for a couple of interesting moments during his sermon. Poor guy drew complete blanks a couple of times while preaching. Yikes. Now this week our symptoms seem to be improving, albeit slowly. Hubby no longer has joint pain but does have the ever present headache. Myself, the migraine queen, doesn't have a headache but my joints hurt pretty much all the time.

We happen to have an infectious disease specialist who attends our church. Todd is one of those guys you want to have as a buddy. He's easy going and pleasant. His wife, Maggie, is a delightful extrovert who flits from person to person with a big smile and encouragement. Well, my hubby and I asked Todd a few questions about this whole Lyme thing, and Todd very graciously obliged us. There is so much misinformation out there - it was great to talk to someone who works with Lyme patients daily. I will admit, though, that when Todd told us that our recovery would take weeks to months, I was frustrated. "I'm busy!", I said. Like he could do anything about that. I am sure he hears the same complaints from Lyme patients weekly. He said, "Most Lyme patients who treat in the early stages go on to have normal lives a year later." Was that supposed to be encouraging? I could tell by the tone in his voice that it was. All I could think of was how overwhelmed I get with life when it's good and uncomplicated. How would I manage? Would I be able to live in a way that brings honor to God - especially in my own home - when I have to deal with pain and exhaustion? I know others who do that, and I've admired them, yet I haven't really been tested in this area apart from the five pregnancies I've had. As my mind raced, I had questions like, "How will I continue to homeschool the kids? How will I be able to have a good attitude toward life's interruptions... toward ministry... toward housework... algebra... two kids entering puberty... " and the list went on and on.

Yesterday my husband had a hospital visit with a lovely older couple from our church. Sadly, the husband suffers from Mesothelioma, and his prognosis is fatal, apart from a miracle from God. Doctors have given him three to six months to live. Yesterday's procedure was a test to see if it would be possible for him to have a medicine (pain reliever) pump surgically implanted, as Mesothelioma is apparently one of the more painful ways in which to die. As my husband spent time with the couple, they laughed and joked, and thanked God for the many blessings He's bestowed upon them. They asked how hubby and I were doing with Lyme... how ironic! Our aches and pains are nothing compared to what this couple is going through, yet they have the compassion to ask how we're doing, and pray for us. That's character!

I am so grateful to the Lord for placing His precious ones in my life, especially those who have walked life's road before me. They teach me without knowing it, and minister life to me by their very existence. I hope that I might be able to bring God glory in that way, too, in my golden years. But until then, perspective and God's grace continue to teach me.

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