Dealing with a chronic illness that most people don’t understand can be isolating. It is discouraging when we can no longer live “normal” lives but everyone else we
know seems to be living life as usual.
It gets even more sad when the people who should be closest to us, like family, seem to disregard the pain we’re experiencing.
For me, living with Lyme Disease is complicated because of the misinformation out there about the disease. There’s a big difference between early diagnosed and chronic infections. Like others with different chronic illnesses, Lyme Disease patients often need to try many different treatment protocols before they find something that works. Symptoms come and go, and pain migrates. It’s hard to explain how you’re doing when things can change drastically in a short period of time.
Life with a chronic illness can be incredibly hard. Most of us who face chronic health issues have one thing in common: our lives do not look the way they did before we got sick. No matter the level of debilitation, the symptoms we face change the way we function.
Some days on the journey with Lyme Disease are harder than others. It’s all up and down, which makes feeling stable something to be desired, but not grasped.
It’s interesting how different our experiences with Lyme Disease may be. For some, just leaving the house to go to the grocery store is a major victory (that’s been me!). For others, they homeschool 4 kids and remain active in church. Others may work part-time but spend every minute outside of work resting. Chronic Lyme Disease can be a debilitating illness that affects each of us differently.
But, one thing we all seem to have in common is that symptoms come and go. They increase and decrease. The pain migrates to various parts of our bodies. There are flares and Herxheimer Reactions.
While in the midst of difficult symptoms, I am aware of what is happening with my body. I know the pain is bad and I begin to get used to it. It’s somehow expected as I wake up each day.
However, if I have a few “good days” in a row (good is all relative…), I begin to be shocked or discouraged when symptoms increase, either by flare or Herx. I may have started out content on the difficult days, but when good days come, they bring a glimmer of hope for more better days. Then, when a good day is followed by a bad day, I grow more depressed about my current situation.
That’s why prayer must be the first thing I do when symptoms come on stronger. I have seek God in it before I allow my sinful nature to take over. My tendency is to grow bitter and become angry, but I know that letting my mind engage in that kind of thinking is never helpful!
The process of healing from chronic illness (or at least getting to a place of stability) has gone nothing like I thought it would.
Rest: a key component in healing and keeping symptoms at bay when facing a chronic illness.
We all know we need it.
We likely crave it.
Living with a chronic illness, where each day is a battle, can wear on a person. Those with chronic illnesses have to manage a lot! Finding relief from symptoms while facing a chronic illness includes far more than just a little extra rest.