I never intended my life to end up like it did, but then again none of us do. Some people get the
pure luck, win the lottery. Others struck with tragedy within instants. Mine is somewhere in the
middle, I’ve had my fair share of bad luck, but the lessons turned over from those situations I
suppose, I can confide that I am lucky to have learned. See, that’s the thing about me, one thing
I can confidently say I admire about myself. I try to see the best in things, use an optimistic
outlook on a, well, shitty situation. I wasn’t always like that, though and I think it was when I
first got sick that I slowly gained that.
Around August of 2012, I had just come back from a ‘teen tour’ type of thing. I was happy as
ever, joining the field hockey team for the first time (god knows why). Anyways, life for me,
seemed normal. The sort of normal that really only occurs to young adults and high-schoolers.
The only problems that presumed me were drama with friends, and family. Nothing serious. It
was only when I realized the life and energy seemed to be draining out of me daily that it
occurred to me that life didn’t revolve around your small circle of high school friends. There
were so many unknowns, so much to explore, so many unanswered questions.
Fast forward a few months and I had been diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease (basically allergic to
gluten). I had done the blood-work, endoscopy and biopsies to prove it. But what couldn’t be
proven was why I still lagged energy, struggled to get through the hallways in school, the
constant stomach and head pain was all still there. Surely it would all disappear when I stopped
eating Gluten they said. Months later- nothing. Oh how genius doctors are!
Fast Forward another few months and I am now a Junior in High School, yet had the attendance
to show maybe, if I was lucky, I knew a quarter of the things they were testing us on on the
SATs. Joy. But that was not my worry anymore, after being tossed from doctor to doctor, still,
no one had any answers for me. “She’s a teenager she’s just stressed”, “She has chronic
amplified pain”, “It’s all in her head”. Hundreds of new pills entered my body.
At one point, get this, they told me I might have Lymphoma. I’m sorry what? So there was
another surgery on the calendar. Oh, Basel cell carcinoma cells found on my leg, must get that
removed before melanoma strikes!
been poked and prodded more than I’d like to admit, and lost just about everyone close to me
(not blood related). My mom was my biggest supporter, but other than that I felt the shame
and disbelief in everyone’s eyes every time they looked at me. It was only until January of
2015 I got my diagnosis of Lyme’s Disease.
After 3 years of homeschooling, losing all my friends, losing my job, being cut open almost
monthly, it felt weird to be relieved of yet another diagnosis. I had always thought I had Lyme
but no one, aside from my mom, had believed me. For once in my life, I got super lucky and got
an appointment with a worldwide known Lyme specialist, whom people traveled overseas to
see. Again, weirdly luckily, she was 15 minutes away from my house. The first thing she said to
me when she looked down at my blood results was, “You are a very, VERY, sick little girl”.
I started forgetting how to walk properly, I was off balance. I threw up in between every meal. I
slept around 17 hours every day, but only during the day never the night. My body ached I had
to take hot baths every night because showering was too hard to stand. I did all of this, with no
one knowing. “You look good”, was what everyone said. No, I did not have to shave my head
(even though hair was falling out). It was an invisible wheelchair. I stopped dancing, stopped
living. I would go through the motions of my life, hiding from anyone the fact I was literally
Once treatment started, I got a lot worse before even improving the slightest bit. I had a PICC
line (a peripherally inserted central catheter) placed in my left arm and administered at least 3
hours of intravenous medicine to myself daily. I really became to love Netflix at this time (trying
to stay positive, remember?) I kept my spirits high, being cautiously optimistic for my future.
Although I couldn’t go off to college, I knew it was for the best. I needed to focus on getting
better before anything else. I had a few friends who were helpful to me and remained by my
side, and although I may not talk to them all anymore I will always be grateful for that. I kept it
very hidden how sick I was, I never wanted people to know or judge. There were times I just
passed out on my floor waking up hours later, people wondering why I never showed up. I fell
asleep, of course.
For four years, I went to therapy and rarely ever cried. I kept that all to myself. But in October
of 2015, much changed. I was happy, not healthy, but happy. And I was ok with that. I tried my
hardest to be able to do the things others considered normal so I had gone out all summer,
drinking was normal to me. It helped me escape, but not in an alcoholic type way. Just a way for
me to not act, but FEEL normal for a night.
I had contemplated going abroad on a GAP semester for a while, and mutually it was decided
that it would benefit me both physically and mentally. I needed to get away, and actually have a
purpose. So, I booked my flights to be away for 3 months in Fiji, New Zealand and Australia
doing service work. I was beyond excited and started working on my body to get more fit for
the physical elements of my trip.
When the time came to leave, I was at an ultimate high, feeling great, looking great. I was ready
to start my journey. I literally gave my parents one hug and ran off in the airport (casually
saying hi to George Clooney). I flew to LAX and met up with the other 11 people I would be on
my trip with. We then all flew to Fiji together. Fiji was, to say the least, incredibly amazing. It
was STUNNING, the people were such beautiful souls, and I loved every second of it. As much
as I would like to think it was all rainbows and unicorns, it was hard. Very hard. 15+ hour work
days in the 110-degree heat. Building houses, mixing cement, running around with kids. It was
all very rewarding, but my body could not keep up with it. I began living in bed every hour we
weren’t doing work, and eventually after 10 days found myself in a hospital. All of this
happening, of course, stressed me out, I had looked forward to this for so long. However, it was
unrealistic, at this point, for me to stay and continue with the group.
So, I was sent home. Depressed and stressed. Hah. It did feel better being home, I wasn’t
stressing my body so much but I should be in freaking Fiji right now. Everything happens for a
reason I guess. I have been working out everyday, and started a new job as a swim instructor
(even though I’m an awful swimmer). I’m set to start school in the Fall down in Florida, so trying
to remain optimistic!
The things I’ve learned in the past 4 years of my life, though, have been so incredible. I have
had to grow and mature more than I would have liked to, but I am grateful to have learned so
many life lessons so early on in my life. Lyme’s Disease is an unknown slowly-killing disease and
well, straight up sucks. But when life gives you Lyme’s, gotta make the best of it!