My Week Away – My Life

As many of you know, I recently spent a week (actually Sunday evening through Friday morning) away at a cabin. All by my little ol’ self. And it was amazing. And lonely. And just what I needed. Although maybe not long enough, but there’s a good chance I would have gone a little nuts if it would have been longer. Coming from a family of ten kids, I’m used to having a lot of hugs around and going for so long without a hug was pretty hard on me. 
My suitcase stuffed full of journals and cards from the past six or so years
I told y’all that I was going away to close one chapter in my life and open the next. I can’t even begin to go into all the changes that have taken place in my life during this last year: A lot of my close co-workers got married and moved away. Actually make that all my close co-workers followed this trend. My brother and I sold our 40-some dairy goats (well, except for a few we kept as pets, more-or-less). Our family decided to move and we’re currently building a house. We started going to a new church. I started traveling a lot more without my siblings (I’m a very sibling-oriented person). I got a book published. I began traveling more with my adopted parents. I could name more things, but I think you get the picture. 
I went through our cupboard and fridge to find food. The only food I bought was ice cream and bananas   

I left out one of the most important things though: I got over Lyme disease. Yes, folks, you read that right. I’m guessing a good amount of you didn’t even realize I had it. The only time I’ve mentioned it on this blog was during my A to Z challenge when I talked about living with a chronic illness. My blog was always my ‘Lyme free zone’. I wanted to have my blog be a place where I would come and be normal… Or at least a writer. I didn’t want being sick to define who I was. I wanted being a writer and a child of God to define me.

I sat on the floor with candles, writing out notes 
The reality of my life though is that I have been sick. For over six years I was sick. In bed for days at a time. Always managing on a minimal amount of energy. In pain. Living without a diagnosis and therefore no way to treat it and explain it, which led people (not my family, thankfully!) to think it was a figment of my imagination and that I was just lazy. 
It was really hard. And by the time I did get diagnosed (a year and a half ago), I was thrilled and scared silly. I wanted to be healthy and I worked hard on doing what the doctor told me to do. She said it would take about two years to get better because my body was so worn out from being sick for a quarter of my life. 
What the cabin looked like 
In March we changed doctors and in June headed out to Colorado for an appointment with the doctor who we had been ‘going to’ over the phone. Her help had worked wonders in my life and I was feeling a lot better. When we were there, we found out I was Lymes free, but my body was still really worn down so I needed to take it easy. Lymes free. Again, I was thrilled, but scared. Why, you may ask, was I scared? 
Y’all people change a lot between the ages of 14 and almost 21. That’s how long I was sick. As much as I wanted to be better, being sick was now my comfort zone, I knew how to deal with it. I knew how to work around it. I knew how to make the most of it. Being healthy though… While that was what I longed for, I no longer could imagine it. I didn’t know what it felt like. I wasn’t even sure what my personality was like any more, because Lyme disease had made me somewhat of a loner… Or could that be my writing? That was the way it was in so many different areas. See, I had no way of knowing. Plus, once I felt better, I knew I would realize again how much I’d missed out on during the years of being sick, and that was really hard on me. 
And then of course I felt stupid, guilty and ashamed of being scared to get better. So it was a horrible cycle. 
Such beauty. I so enjoy walking along roads
I had to make a choice. A choice to get better. To re-program my mind for health. To remind myself of all the reasons I needed to be healthy. Y’all, getting healthy wasn’t easy. It meant months {years} of vitamins. Months {years} of strict diets. It meant a lot of work on my part, bodily, emotionally and spiritually. 
The Bible tells us: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  (Philippians 4:8) That is one of the things I had to keep reminding myself, and still do to this day. 
A lot more civilization than I’m used to (not even kidding!) but it was still peaceful
With all those thoughts swirling around in my head though, I knew I needed to get away and go through all my Lyme disease years in my head. A second trip to the doctor in the beginning of September showed us that I was indeed on the track to health. “Why am I so tired though?” I asked. The doctor responded that it was because I’ve been pushing myself too hard and doing so much. I was like “Huh?” It wasn’t until I went through my year at the cabin that I realized despite not feeling well, I really have been doing a good amount of stuff. 
If you’re wondering: I still don’t feel the best. I still have a very limited amount of energy. I also know I’m on the right track and I’m no longer scared of being perfectly healed. Freaked out by some of the things? Yes. Scared? No. I’m on a pretty strict diet/lifestyle that I’m thoroughly enjoying. I’m thrilled to be where I am in life right now. Have the last six and a half years been hard? Yes. Have they helped shape me into the person I am now? Yes. Would I change the last six years into perfectly healthy ones if I could? No, because they really have helped me learn so much. Would I totally freak out if I had to go through six more years? By all means yes! Yet I would still believe that God could use them for His good. 
The sun on the corn was gorgeous – the view from the front porch
So, what exactly did I do during my week? Other than getting extremely homesick at night, I went through things in my head. I read old journals and letters I had written during the time I had been sick. One of the side effects of my Lyme disease was a messed up sleep schedule where I would be awake until late (or early) just about every night, and then take naps during the day. That gave me a lot of quiet time to write down my feelings during the past half a decade of my life. 
In addition to reading, I also wanted to write. Actually, I wanted to write a lot. I wrote in fiction, because that’s the way I work best. The main girl (who never had a name) was me through and through. I would just close my eyes and remember the thoughts. The emotions. The jumbled feelings. I would let my pain and sadness, my joy and victories, fly from my mind and heart out through my fingers and watched as page after page filled up on my computer. 
How I spent the week – baseball cap and sweatshirt in the morning 
I let myself remember how it hurt to be misunderstood, so that I could forgive. So that I could get over it. I let myself remember the deep, tear inducing feelings of aloneness when I had one of my best friends visiting from half way around the world and yet I felt so bad I just laid up in my bed in pain, crying. I let myself remember what it was like to feel an unbelievable magnitude of guilt and have no clue where it came from. (We later figured out that my thyroid would randomly skip from hypo to hyper and the effect would produce the same feeling I would get when I was guilty from something.) Those were some of the hardest moments. I let myself remember what it was like to long to go somewhere, to do something, yet not have energy. I let myself remember what it was like to feel like just existing was more work than I could manage. 
I also allowed myself to remember the undying care of my family. The way people stood by me. The way I had learned to trust in God in a deeper way than ever before. The way I had cried out to God during those times when I felt like I had been forgotten. 
And I wrote. I wrote like never before. As I felt the words pouring out, I felt healing pouring in. Not physically, that had been coming for a while, but emotionally. I knew I needed the week to successfully close the chapter in my life, and goodness, with God’s help, I was going to close it! 
Pine trees are some of my favorite 
Monday I wrote 16,000 words. Tuesday I wrote 14,000 words. Wednesday I was tired. I still had my story bursting in me though, so I started writing. After 10,000 words, I was exhausted. Going on a brisk walk, more thoughts began pouring in. I was so close. I was almost to the new chapter of my life. Hurrying home, I found myself rapidly typing out notes on my phone so I wouldn’t forget them. Back at the cabin, I sat on the porch and set my timer (the first timer/alarm I had set all week) and began writing. And wrote 10,000 more words. 
Back in November, I was bursting with pride when I completed NaNoWriMo, which is 50,000 words in a month. Now I just wrote 50,000 words in three days, including no copying and pasting. Every single word was mine – and original to the moment I was typing it.  I’m pretty sure that each one of those days was a record for me. 20,000 in one day though, that wasn’t just a record. That was a dream. 
I typed the last word (I ended up with around 50,500 words) and as I finished up, the last page to that chapter in my life slid shut. I didn’t even have the desire to look back over the words I had written. I didn’t want to hash it out in my mind any more. I didn’t want to dwell on my past life any more. So I moved on to my goals for the next five years of my life. 
Who in their right mind wouldn’t take a picture of this? The blue sky is stunning
Goals. Even the very word makes me happy. Working through a book about goals gave me greater insight to what I have to look forward to, work toward, in the years ahead. I feel like I have a pretty good foundation in my life, and now I just need to use it as a springboard to bound ahead. There is so much to do with life! I truly believe that God put me here for a purpose. That I have a reason to live. And that I need to do everything within my power to accomplish all that I can. (Check out this song. It is seriously what I feel.) 
By the time Thursday rolled around I was pretty worn out from my writing so I didn’t get as much accomplished on my goals as I had been hoping to. Still, I got a lot done, and I’m thrilled with it. 
One of the things I wanted to do was count out how many nights I’d been gone/traveled for so far this year. It was kinda hard figuring out everywhere I’d been, but in time I gathered up all the data, and if I was correct, between January 1st and September 27th, I was gone for 82 days. Since than I’ve been away for another night. To put that in perspective, if I were to leave home right now, I wouldn’t arrive back home until January 5th, 2014. 
I got to stay in a really breathtaking place! 
When I thought about being gone that much, in addition to getting over Lyme disease, trying to regain my health, getting a book published, working on my writing every day, plus working part time, I suddenly realized that maybe the doctor did indeed have a good reason to say that’s why I’ve been so tired. (My busy week at the cabin might also put this blog post into a better perceptive.) 
So, y’all that was a very open look at my life. I know there was probably a lot of new (and somewhat unusual) information on here. And if you’re wondering, no, it’s not always easy to figure out what to share and what not to share. I have a deep desire though to help others who have gone though hard times, and I’m hoping my post will help with that. I also know a lot of people don’t know a lot about Lyme disease. 
Feel free to ask me any questions. {If you’d rather not leave them in the comments, you can email me at: aidylewoh @gmail.com} Thanks, y’all! 

6 thoughts on “My Week Away – My Life

  1. Anonymous says:

    Amazing, Lydia. So happy you got that special time to help you close that chapter in your life. Nothing like writing it out – proud of you for all you accomplished! My favorite post to date. ♥

    Rebecca

    Like

  2. David Mabe says:

    This is a very moving post. It was awesome that you were able to open yourself up and be vulnerable in it. Your words about your battle with Lyme's disease and struggle with being healed of it reminds me of the daughter of a preacher here in Henderson, Texas where I live. His daughter has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis since she was in her teens. He said that once, in a prayer meeting where she was present, he heard her pray, “Lord, when I've learned all that you intend to teach me through this horrible condition, then I ask that you would heal me….” I've always been amazed by the humility in that statement. It's awesome that the Lord has taken this disease from you. I pray that you continue to rebuild your energy and health. I look forward to reading about what 2014 has in store for you.

    Like

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