What I Love About My Body, After Lyme Disease
I was inspired this week by my friend, Kat Woods, who wrote about how her illness taught her to love her body at any weight. (Click here to read her post.) And, it made me think…what lessons have I learned from Lyme Disease that make me love my body even more?
It’s been a solid 10-months since my body has been feeling so much stronger and energized, post Lyme Disease. I had waited a crazy 9-years to feel like a healthy human, again, and oddly, I’m starting to forget what it felt like to be so incredibly sick.
But, here’s the thing; I don’t want to forget. Lyme Disease swallowed up my 30’s; it changed my life. It changed the essence of me. And, I don’t want to push the experience under the rug and act like it never happened.
I’ve learned so much from having a serious chronic illness, and now that I’m recovered, I want to stay grounded and mindful to how far I’ve come.
My recovery didn’t happen by magic. I great deal of commitment, experimentation, willingness, professional medical help, and determination went into the process. I live in a country that doesn’t provide medical treatment to Lyme patients past 30-days; I had to leave Canada to get the medical care that I needed.
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As I approach my 10th year anniversary, coming up in 2016, of contracting Lyme Disease, I’m taking stock of the things that I’ve learned along the way, so that I don’t forget. I want other Lyme patients to know that there is hope…healing is possible; medical treatment and holistic practices do work.
Here’s how Lyme allowed me to love my body:
#1 I love that I now have a fierce belief that the body can heal.
There were times when I thought that I would never recover my health. I was afraid that I would never be able to work again or leave my house unassisted. I was a shut-in for 8-years — I was trapped. It took 5-years to receive a diagnosis, 3 years of treatment to rid my body of Lyme, and another year to rebuild my strength. I’m still improving to this day. Lyme has taught me that the body can heal, and you can rebuild strength and stamina. I love how resistant my body has been. I love that I could witness and experience my body healing.
#2 I love that I know how food affects my body:
Before Lyme, I was unconscious to how food affected my body. I was a sugar-freak. I ate anything and everything junk food related, and I didn’t care that my gut was on fire. I didn’t link food to how my body functioned. I love how fine tuned my body has become, and I wouldn’t have learned that without Lyme. I’m grateful that I learned how to live gluten-free and sugar-free because my body thrives now.
#3 I love that my weight isn’t an issue anymore:
I was never a dieter before Lyme, but I did lament over the cellulite on the back of my thighs. But, since having Lyme, I don’t really care about the weight game anymore. The things that I’ve learned about diet have eliminated that worry. Eating a clean, chemical-free, gluten-free & sugar-free diet has set my body up to be the healthiest it can be. And, cellulite or no cellulite, having my health back is way more important.
#4 I love that I can watch my body get stronger:
By January 2015, I felt that I was ready to push myself, physically. For the 9-years previous, I wasn’t able to do more than a brief, gentle walk. The physical exertion was too much. I was constant out of breath, even while sitting. My body literally felt like a soft marshmallow; I lost all muscle tone. I started to strenuously exercise in January 2015, and I quickly become obsessed with the Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis program — an at home, DVD system, based on muscle sculpting and dance cardio. I love that I have been able to witness my body getting stronger; my muscles getting bigger; and, my ability to leave my marshmallowness behind.
#5 I love that my brain function survived:
As a neuroscientist, experiencing how Lyme attacked my central nervous system (CNS) was down-right frightening. By year 4 of Lyme, I was starting to have involuntary arm and hip movement on my right side. I also had involuntary plantar-flexion reflexes on both sides. These were symptoms that something was happening in my brainstem, but at the time, I didn’t know what. My brain function really slowed down, and I had a wicked panic/anxiety problem, but I didn’t experience word-loss, reading difficulty, or speech problems like most Lyme patients. I love that my brain hung in there until I could get medical help, and she’s bounced back so well. All of my CNS symptoms are gone, except panic. I’m incredibly grateful my brain survived.
Have you been on a wild health ride? What have you learned about your body? And, what do you love about it now? Leave a comment below.