Letters To Lyme Disease

Letter to Lyme Disease by Kelsey Cone

Dear Lyme Disease,

You’ve been my closest companion and my greatest enemy. You’ve taken experiences, memories, friends, family, and half of my twenties. You’ve shown me the pangs of rejection, and the fair-weathered friends to go with it.

I’ve never known such fear of the worst, and at the same time, such acceptance of the worst raining down. To try to live contentedly while being followed around by a thunderstorm cloud.

You plucked me from college, placed me in the stadium seat to watch my friends graduate, and then a year later you kept me in bed so I couldn’t even walk across the stage when it was my turn. You have secured my place on my couch or in bed every single day without my consent. And have kept me there during all the birthday dinners, the family get-togethers, the weddings, the concerts, and the events I’ve been waiting all year for.

You’ve placed me in chains on the sidelines, while everyone else I know participates in the game.

I want to hold precious babies without my arms aching, lift the crock pot onto the counter myself, give my husband a real hug without my body hurting to be touched, and sleep throughout the whole night without waking up needing more ice.

I hate that while I’m destroying you, you are still destroying me. Whether it be through more pain from herxing, continual misunderstanding, or loneliness. It’s almost like even as I’m “winning” by treating you, I’m still losing.

You’ve intruded on my husband’s life also. I hate that he feels the discouraging anger of knowing he can’t protect me from you. I hate that you’ve brought him into all of this. He hurts too, you know. He feels the ache from the lack of support and misunderstandings—no one remembers to ask how he is doing.

You’ve set me up for failure. Everything I do is a great accomplishment. Loading the dryer and emptying the dishwasher are both signs that I have “won” for ten minutes of that day.

You have rewritten my story in a way that leaves me out of it! You’ve placed me inside a glass box while the world lives around me.

You’ve brought the deep, long, silence. The people who show their support only when they see or hear from you, then leave you in your silent suffering the rest of the days.

How am I supposed to connect with them when the very biggest thing about me is something they can’t understand?!

And the pain…

Thanks for introducing me to the worst ride of my life. Enduring the most pain I’ve ever had until my body shakes from the intensity and crying only brings more discomfort. I’ve never known how much my body can handle, and I’m left surprised that my body wakes up the next morning. You’ve made me feel as if my life is nothing more than pain, and is not worth this ride I didn’t ask to get on.

And even with all that…

You’ve taken away my life, and that’s given me an immense appreciation for living.

You’ve given me such depths of pain that has bridged gaps between myself and others going through hardship as well; sympathy has turned to empathy.

You crept into my relationship and stretched us hard, turning my husband from partner to caretaker, and yet we’re deeper and stronger because of it.

You’ve taken away so many things, and it’s made me appreciate every single small thing.

Because you’ve turned my days to gray, my eyes have been opened to a world of color.

I’ve realized more about life than I knew in the beginning.

I’ve learned to stand on the line between hating all kinds of pain and welcoming it; my perspective on life has changed to accepting a life filled with the highs and lows and calling it beautiful. 

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