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Being LymeBrave: Choosing To Be Visible

Being LymeBrave is a new blog series featuring writers who are turning their passions into purpose and transforming their experiences with Lyme disease into something positive. Follow along as we share the stories of Lyme patients and caregivers who are being brave in the face of illness.

One of the hardest parts of being chronically “invisibly” sick revolves around image. I have been sick for over ten years now and yet if you were to pass me in the street, you’d never have a clue of the challenges I face day in and day out. People don’t seem to comprehend that you don’t have to look sick to be sick. Illnesses come in far too many different forms, and for me, it’s on the inside.

My body has been slowly killing and torturing itself but physically you’d never know. I am a petite, twenty-something-year-old that some may call fit or even beautiful but goodness do I feel harshly different. I have learned that with my image of a “healthy” looking female, I am forced to render the harsh backlash of ignorance and doubt.

“But you don’t look sick.”

Just because I can fake a smile and force myself to escape the isolation for an hour doesn’t mean I am not fighting off the demons internally and in a relentless amount of pain. If you could just see how I feel rather than just how I look, life with a chronic “invisible” illness may be that much easier.

After years of living with my illness I’ve learned to accept and live with it. I have hope for remission or a “cure,” but I have accepted that this is my now and I must either choose to live this way or give up.

I choose to live.

Mikayla Vacher is a 23-year-old Chronic Lyme disease warrior who has been fighting for over ten years. She was finally diagnosed in May 2013 after being dismissed by far too many doctors for over five years. Lyme disease has turned her world upside down, but she is learning to embrace the journey and find a purposeful meaning in every day. Want to know more about Mikayla? Find her on social media! Instagram: @mikayla_jennifer

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