I don't believe this happened for a reason. I like to think my character wasn’t—and isn’t—all that bad. Before my illness struck, I was not headed down a path of destruction or bad habits. I was an athlete and an organic vegetable farmer. I served my local community, donated boxes of produce every week to the hungry, and looked after my neighbors. Even my mom, the retired minister, didn’t believe I lived in sin. Still, I don't think this illness has completely changed me or my life's course. I do believe that unfortunate circumstances make us grow and learn and be better for it. …or that's what we say when it's all over. I started writing because I thought I hit a turning point, the final stretch to the happy ending. People have been telling me for a long time, “It's going to get better”. I have done all the things that I know to heal and make a full recovery. I've endured enough pain and have experienced too many heart-aching days completely wasted. I've learned more about myself and made positive changes. I have been extremely diligent with my treatment, what I eat, and how much I sleep. I have dedicated these winter months to getting better. It is a glorious time of year to bear down and hit Lyme disease with every tool I have. I have spent most of these three months in bed, snuggling with my dog Harvey, and sleeping away this misery. When it hurts to move and my world spins with every exertion, it quickly becomes a full-time job to take this amount of medicine. My schedule quickly fills up with succumbing to every bad day, getting routine lab work, going to doctors, specialists, physical therapy, and trying to wrap my brain around being a farmer again.
The December issue of National Geographic was titled “The Healing Power of Faith.” The cover story delved into the power that belief has on our healing. It has been shown in rigorous clinical tests that the expectation of relief can induce self-healing. A strong belief that a treatment will work can trigger medicinal neurotransmitters and hormones. The expectation of a certain result can activate a neurochemical response that may inhibit pain or promote recovery. This is also known as the placebo effect. I agree that there are myriad ways to heal. I recently traveled to see “The Hillbilly Psychic” because I was desperate for some positive news…but I only wanted to hear the good stuff. The psychic told me that I had been beaten up badly, but she reassured me that I was on the upswing. I had hit rock bottom and was starting to crawl my way out; however, this process would be slow. After I saw her, my health took one more nosedive, but since then, I have begun to see better days. The other day, I met up with two other women facing a similar battle. We connected over words like biofilm, mycoplasm, babesia, borrelia, bartonella. These are terms that I have become all too familiar with. We have communicated through phone calls and emails. In my darkest hours, I have found light in reading one of the women’s powerful writing. Melina recently stated, “You can be extremely sick for a very long time, and your health may rise and fall and bounce around (mine did) and you can still get better. You can lose all hope for a night or two. I did. And you can still get better.” If the belief alone could heal me, I think I would have been better a long time ago. For me I had to believe that it couldn't get worse and then experience the fact that it could. As it turns out, I can believe, lose all faith, and still recover. I don’t believe this happened for a reason, but I believe that finding reasons to heal can become a powerful indicator of my will to survive.