My sister, Helena, just got back from visiting some amazing friends out in Nebraska and we were sitting around talking when she gave me a big smile, “Lydia! I have something to tell you that will make you happy.” She then proceeded to tell me about a girl who she had met at church there who knew who she was because this girl had been reading my blog. (She was told about my blog by our friends.) This girl told Helena that she liked the When Life Hands You Lymes
posts and then asked her some questions about the story.
That made me incredibly happy. When Life Hands You Lymes has not been easy for me to write. I sit down to work on it and my fingers and mind form a rebellion, disregarding the ideas I have for the story and dragging it on. People. I don’t like having a sick character. I don’t like making myself go through and decide what symptoms of Lyme disease Madalyn is going to have. I don’t like the idea of her going for years with an undetected disease. Madalyn, I like. The sickness, I do not.
So why do I do it? Because it’s a story I have that I need to tell. It’s something I’ve been through that I’m compelled to share. I look back at the years I spent sick and feeling alone. One of the worst feelings is No one understands. It’s not only bad because it makes you feel like you’re the only one, but it also makes you feel like you have the right to a pity party. Like, since they can’t understand, you don’t have to try and improve. And that’s a horrible situation to be. If you’re not improving yourself, if you feel justified to wallow in self-pity, then you’re in a dangerous place.
I write Madalyn’s story so I can help others and also continue growing and healing myself. When I was sick, I kept telling myself One day, one day, I will write a story about a girl who’s sick. Then all these years will have been research. Writing, to me, is part of the healing process. It’s how I make sense of stuff in my mind. It helps me to understand.
To those who are sick, whether or not you know what your illness is, I want to help you know that you’re not alone. I want to help show you that you can still add to the world and accomplish stuff and work though it, even just one day (or one minute) at a time. I want to help you to understand that one day things will be different and you can become a strong, amazing person through your trials.
To those of you who aren’t sick, I want to help show you what it’s like, so you can understand. So you can know when to talk, when to be silent. I think we all know the feeling of having a friend who’s had something hard happen to them, a death in the family, someone diagnosed with a bad illness, something like that. Often times we feel lost, not knowing what to say or if we should even bring it up. Hopefully Madalyn’s story will make you feel more comfortable around people who are sick and help you know how to support them.
Madalyn’s story is hard for me to write, but it’s also one of my favorites. I’m pouring so much of me into this book. No, Madalyn is not me. But yes, Madalyn has many of the same struggles I do. Madalyn’s story is stretching for me, but hey, it’s good for me to be stretched! Madalyn is me sharing my growth process with y’all. Thank you, for your support. Thank you for joining me for this story.
Now it’s your turn: I would be delighted if any of y’all would ask questions you have regarding Lyme disease, Madalyn’s story, my story… The whole shebang. I’m not sure I’ll get them all answered in the comments as in depth as I would like to, but it really helps me to know where I should take the story next. The last time I asked this, someone emailed me some really wonderful questions that were extremely hard to answer, but really helped me realize what you guys do and don’t grasp about the disease. So please, ask away if you feel so inclined!
And, to the girl in Nebraska who talked to my sister, Hey! I’m delighted to have you on my blog. It’s great to know you’re enjoying my story. Pop on and say hi any time you want! 🙂