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.
The universe was speaking to me long before I was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2016. It was communicating with me through my symptoms, each one a wake up call to pay attention. Unfortunately, I ignored it over and over again. The first alarm was the panic attacks, then the shooting pain, the rapid heart rate, the swollen lymph nodes, on and on. And I didn’t listen.
The stress of my job was literally killing me. With each passing year my symptoms worsened. Eventually, I was in and out of urgent care and the hospital desperately trying to figure out what was wrong with me. At my rock bottom I was in so much pain and had so little energy that all I did was go to work, come home and cover my body in heating pads until I crawled into bed for the night. Like most Lyme patients, my fight for a diagnosis was long and difficult.
The answer came about ten years after the onset of my health issues when I was finally tested for Lyme disease and put on antibiotics. That was two years ago and I’ve been making slow progress ever since.
After I was given the gift of a diagnosis my entire outlook on life shifted. In retrospect I realized that my failing health was an internal alarm system for my life. Each time I ignored the smoke, the fire got worse, until the flames were out of control and I couldn’t ignore it any longer. That’s when I started to reevaluate the direction of my life. The universe was telling me I was going the wrong way and if I wanted to heal I would have to make some major changes.
The first thing I had to change was my job. It wasn’t easy leaving my full-time school social work job for a part-time job at a university. But once I took the leap, my health started to improve. Aches and pains lessened and my energy started to come back.
With each change, I felt the universe nudging me further. Lyme taught me to listen to the signals in my body, which in turn taught me how to listen to my intuition. I followed my passion for writing and slowly doors started to open. I decided I wanted to move to a warmer climate and as if by magic the opportunity came. The more I follow my true path, the better my health becomes.
It works in the opposite way as well. When I don’t listen to what I need and stop taking care of myself, my symptoms worsen. When I start letting naysayers and skeptics get into my head and make me question my instincts, the universe answers back with a setback.
Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly where this journey is leading me, especially with doctors making conflicting recommendations, and so many options to choose from. This is when I get very quiet and ask for guidance. Sometimes it shows up and other times it doesn’t. I just have to know at the end of the day that I am doing my best to be true to myself and that even when I make mistakes, it’s all part of the process.
What will I do next? This quote from the visionary Lyme doctor, Dietrich Klinghardt, is guiding my way. It’s from the Lyme disease documentary, Under Our Skin 2: Emergence:
"If you have Lyme disease, by my definition, it means also you belong to a tribe here on the planet that is more conscious and more sensitive and also more likely to do something once you recover that will be of benefit for all of us."
As I slowly recover from Lyme I’ve been asking myself what can I do raise consciousness and be a benefit to others?
I don’t have it all figured out just yet, but I know the voice of the universe will lead me to it. I just have to listen.
Kerry J Heckman authors the wellness & lifestyle blog Words Heal (www.kerryjheckman.com). Her blog provides a positive message for those with invisible illness and builds connections through “The Lyme Interview” series. Finally diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease in 2016, her journey with invisible illness began over 10 years prior. Yoga, meditation, and diet are paramount in her treatment. She loves to travel and go on adventures, which she also writes about on her website. Kerry is also a therapist and freelance writer. Want to know more about Kerry? Find her on social media! Facebook: Words Heal Twitter: @kerryjheckman