When Life Hands You Lymes #79

Hey everyone! After a great day of work at my non-writing job I’m finally sitting down and getting the 79th segment of my fictional story, When Life Hands You Lymes posted for today. I hope y’all enjoy! 

I’m awoken the next morning by Mom as she gives me my morning medicine. “Time to get up, Madalyn.” 
I yawn and look around. “What time is it?” 
“Ten a.m. We have company coming. Remember me telling you about the Jennings family spending a couple of days here?” Mom holds out a couple of vitamins and I dutifully swallow them.
I feel like such a baby how Mom has to help me with everything and remind me about our company. “Ok. I’m getting up.” We’ve known the Jennings for longer than I can remember. They live in South Carolina though so we don’t get to see them very often. I had remembered that they were coming for a visit, I had just forgotten when the visit was. 
“Dad, Darrick and I are going to pick them up at the airport. Would you like to come along with us? We’re leaving early so we can check up on how everything is going.” 
I rub my forehead while thinking of the previous visits we’ve had with our friends. Emily Jennings and I don’t do a ton throughout the year, but whenever we visit we have a total blast. Right now though I’m feeling anything but social. “I’ll wait here.” 
“Alright. Do you need me to get you anything else before I go?” Mom is halfway across the room and I know she’s in a hurry. 
“I’m fine.” I drag myself out of bed and look out the window that overlooks our driveway. About five minutes later I see the family drive away. “I hate it, I hate it, I hate it!” I pound my fist against the wall. “Oh I hate it!” I scream the words and then bury my face in my hands. 
At lunch time it takes all of my willpower to hold back my urge to hyperventilate as I go downstairs and pull on a cheerful face as I greet our guests. After hugs and pleasantries are exchanged I fall to the back of the group as they head into the dinning room. At the last minute a panicky feeling overwhelms me and I slip away from the group and run upstairs where I slam my door shut and then lean against it, my breath coming in gasps. 
“People, so many people.” I gasp out as I take in short little breaths and let them out in puffs. I can feel my heart racing and it feels like I just barely missed some grand calamity. 
Are you going to eat lunch with us? Mom’s text makes me close my eyes and shake my head, even though she can’t see me. 
No, I’m sorry. I’m not feeling up to it. I am hungry though. Do you think Darrick or Carter could bring me something to eat? Ugg. I am such a sissy. The thought of going down and facing people though makes me feel all shaky. 
Ok. Mom’s short reply makes me hit my head against the door. I realize she has company and texting isn’t exactly a polite thing to do, but I’m feeling so utterly lonely and I don’t feel like cutting off all communication with the human race just yet, even though I don’t feel like seeing them in person. 

How’s it going? I send a quick text to Julia and then head into my music studio. Weariness overtakes me again though, so instead of practicing I lie down on the couch to rest. I pull up Jason’s number Doing anything fun this Saturday? I send the text then scroll through my contacts, wondering if there’s anyone else I can try and make contact with. I don’t have very many people I contact on a regular basis, so I don’t come up with many. A simple Hey is sent to Katie, if she wants to text she’ll ask what’s up. I was just admiring my curtains again. Thank you for making them, is what I send to Abbie. Then I set my phone on my stomach and wait. And wait. My phone is silent. My door is silent. My life is silent. I can’t hold back the feeling of being cut off from the rest of the world. 

Sharing a Snippet

Hey y’all! It’s been a while since I did my last writing/editing update so I figured I would post one today. The problem is I haven’t been doing a lot with my writing/editing recently. Sure, I’ve been moseying along but not really getting anywhere. What I have been trying to do though is edit When Life Hands You Lymes. Therefore, I thought I’d share a little segment with y’all that I really like. It’s one that I added in later on and pretty much would give a big hug to if it were possible. Enjoy!
Setting: The four siblings having a picnic by the ocean on Prince Edward Island. 
We slipped and slid down the red earthen bank, bubbles of joy danced around my heart. I closed my eyes and felt the luscious sea wind blowing on me, tugging my hair that framed my face and tickling my nose. 
I opened my eyes when I felt someone tuck their arm through mine. 
“This feels like a movie, doesn’t it?” Katie asked. Her voice is relaxed, happy. 
I nodded as I felt the beauty enveloping my soul.
“Are you two coming?” Jason waved at us from down closer to the beach. 
“The water’s refreshing, come join us!” Darrick extended the invitation. 
“Refreshing?” Katie cupped one hand around her mouth to shout at them. “Don’t you mean freezing?” Katie and I skipped toward the swelling waves.
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“Darrick, what are you thinking?” Katie nudged him with her foot. 
“I’m just being quiet like normal.” Darrick shrugged.
“Ha!” Katie scooted to the edge of the picnic blanket. “Any time you’re being quiet  means you’re planning something mischievous.” 
“Where’s your faith in humankind?” Darrick grumbled as he held out his hands in a show of innocence. 
“It dissipated a little over twenty years ago when I became a big sister.” Katie glared and crossed her arms over her chest. “I don’t think you realize what you’ve put me through over the years.” 
“She’s turning into a cynical old lady.” Darrick shook his head sadly and stole one of Jason’s carrot sticks, crunching it loudly. 
“Sorry, I have to side with her on this one.” Jason tossed another carrot stick at him. “Do you remember the time I had friends over and you lured us outside and plastered mud all over us and when we went inside to clean up you’d turned off all the hot water and turned up the AC? And this was in November!” 
“Or the time I had friends over,” Katie jumped in, “and you came downstairs to our theater and convinced us you were sleep walking and talking and you told all sorts of embarrassing stories from when I was younger?” 
“Or what all the times you poured stake sauce, soy sauce or whatever in my iced tea when we’d go out to eat?” Jason grimaced just thinking about it. 
“And you told me that applesauce came from a hole drilled in an apple tree.” Katie looked disgusted. “I got in trouble for those holes you know.”
Darrick laughed gleefully, “You’re older than me. You’re supposed to know better than that.” 
“Hey, I’m older than you, too, but somehow you got me to believe that if someone was born left-handed it meant they were allergic to tree nuts.” Jason rummaged in the picnic basket and pulled out a package of nuts and began munching on them. “Which I later found has absolutely no validity.”
“What about you, Madds? Surely our dear brother’s tricked you at some time.” 
“One time he convinced me that it would taste like candy if I licked a battery.” 
Darrick hooted with laughter at my words. 
“Oh yeah, he tried that one on me, too.” Katie shivered. “Thankfully I knew the truth.” 
“It was a rather shocking experience, you’ve got to admit.” Darrick looked smug at his pun usage. 
“Hardy ha ha.” Katie was not impressed. 
“If I remember correctly you’re not without fault in the younger sibling arena,” Jason grinned at Katie then threw an almond up in the air and caught it in his mouth. “I have lots of stories I could tell if I cared to.” 
“I guess I’m the only perfect older sibling here,” I gave myself a pat on my back. “Which isn’t hard to understand.”
“Duh since you’re the youngest.” Katie stuck her tongue out at me producing gales of laughter from our brothers. 
“Here you act so old then pull a trick like sticking out your tongue, that is so kindergarden.” Jason flicked at nut at me. “You might not have been an ornery big sister to anyone, but you were enough trouble as a kid that I began bargaining with Mom to do anything other than baby sit you.” 
“Oh yeah!” Katie and Darrick pounce on this train of thought like cats on a mouse. 

When Life Hands You Lymes #78

Hey folks! It’s time for the 78th segment of my fictional story When Life Hands You Lymes. I hope y’all enjoy it!  
I reached over and fingered the carrot sticks that were on my nightstand. Carter had brought me a whole tray of food earlier that day but I hadn’t eaten much. “One. I’m thankful for my family.” They really did love and support me. Even Katie although sometimes we didn’t see eye to eye and that hurt. “Two. My music.” Music had brought me so much peace and comfort during the last couple years of my life and I couldn’t even begin to imagine what life would have been like if I hadn’t had it. “Three. Julia moving in. Four. That we know I have Lyme disease and I’m on the road to recovery. Five. That some day I will be all better and have wonderful health. Six. That I have happy memories from my childhood. Seven. That I have the ability to talk. And that I can hear. And that I can see. Eight. That my stomach aches have been slacking off. Nine. That I can be thankful.” 
Somewhere I here a clock chiming eleven pm and I realize that Dad must have left my hall door open when he left. I push the covers back and tentatively sit up. After a moment I swing my legs off the bed and stand up. “Ten. I’m thankful for the blessing of having medicine that I can take to help me get better. Eleven. That I have beautiful views from my windows. Twelve. That I met Amber. Thirteen. For Emerson Airlines. Fourteen. That my parents accept my dream of music instead of me growing up to work with Emerson Airlines. Fifteen. That I can count and add and subtract and do math in general. Sixteen. For hot water and cleanliness.” I limp into my dressing room and grab some clothes before heading toward the shower. 
“Seventeen. For food that I enjoy that’s on my diet. Eighteen. That I actually like Dr. Shay. Nineteen. That I’ve been able to do so much traveling in my life. Twenty. For how close Darrick and I have grown to each other. Twenty-one. That we don’t have any yippy little animals.” I shake my head when I think of my dream where Mom decided to raise poodles. It had been a disaster. “Twenty-two. That I’m pretty. At least when I haven’t just climbed out of bed. Twenty-three. For God’s grace. Twenty-four. For the knowledge that God has a perfect plan for my life.” 
When my shower was done I had been planning on going to my studio to practice but ended up lying back down. I wasn’t sleepy, but my energy level was low enough I knew I wouldn’t be able to do anything productive. And the silence. It was getting to me. I longed for human interaction but since everyone I knew was probably asleep, I was alone.

I flip open my computer and click on Youtube. After looking around for a couple of minutes I choose an old Andy Griffith and enter the world of Mayberry. They residents there keep me company for the next few hours as I work on addressing envelopes for Mom’s latest charity project and work up the energy to go to my music studio. 

When Life Hands You Lymes #77

Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to the 77th segment of my fictional story, When Life Hands You Lymes. I’ve been working on the second draft of the manuscript this week which is pretty exciting. I hope you enjoy it and as always, your comments are appreciated. 
The weariness I felt had swallowed me whole. Starting with my body and slowly creeping through my brain, my heart and finally my soul. Each time I tried to rally my brain and come up with the power to think I was left feeling hopeless, as if reverting back to my normal self was beyond my control. 
“Madalyn, it’s time for your tinctures.” 
Mom’s voice prompted me to open my mouth but not my eyes. That would have taken too much energy. I felt the bitter tasting liquid fall onto my tongue. I closed my mouth and swallowed. 
“Sweet dreams.” 
I drifted back to sleep, my dreams anything but sweet. 
“There’s something fundamentally wrong when it’s no longer unusual to sleep the whole day away.” I stopped my rant to suck in some deep breaths since I was suddenly gasping for air. “I don’t even feel like a human any more. The world if flying past while I float away on a dream world that I can’t control.” 
“At least we know it’s just temporary, a corridor on our way to better things.” Dad stood next to my bed, his smile gentle. “Think of how long we begged for answers and now we have them.” 
“I never in my wildest dreams, and they can get pretty wild, imagined that the process of getting over Lyme disease would be so horrific.” I’m calming down now and rationale is taking over. 
“It’s difficult for us to see you feeling so miserable, too.” Dad rubbed the back of his neck. “But when I think of what this medicine is doing for you, it makes it all worth it.” 
“Yes, Madds?” 
“What do people who have Lyme disease and don’t have wonderful parents like you do?” I gave Dad a silly smile. 
“Does that mean you’re thankful for us?” 
“Hum, let’s think about that.” I scratch my head. “Number One: You pay for all of my medicine and doctor appointments. Number Two: You keep encouraging me and pulling me out of my pit of despair. Number Three: You love me even when I look like this.” I wave my hand to include my greasy hair, rumpled pajamas and thrashed bed. “Number Four: You take time out of your busy day to come up and check on me to see how I’m doing. Number Five: You keep giving me uplifting books, DVD’s and audio to fill my mind with.” I let out a deep sigh. “Yeah, I think I must be pretty thankful for you.” 
By the time Dad heads to get ready for bed a few minutes later I feel like I’ve made a definite improvement on my outlook on life. Sure it’s a pain sleeping the day away and having zero energy, but like Dad said, I am on the road to recovery. This is just a corridor, a long, pitch black, creepy and suffocating corridor, but it won’t last forever. 
Dr. Shay’s advice echoed in my mind. I needed to keep my mind on positive things. It was a battle I’d been fighting each day. Some times with success, other times with so much failure I wanted to scream. “Alright. Madalyn, you are going to rejoice.” I glanced at the clock. Other than trips to the bathroom I’d been in bed for twenty-four hours straight. Most of them had been spent sleeping. “One thing you’re thankful for for each hour I’ve been in bed.” Somehow talking out loud made the night seem more friendly. Julia was visiting her parents for a week in Florida and Darrick was gone on a business trip. By this time both my parents were probably sleeping. 

When Life Hands You Lymes #76

Hey Folks! Here it is. Busy, busy, busy day today! I’m glad to finally get the post slipped in. I hope you enjoy the 76th segment of my fictional story When Life Hands You Lymes

My fingers curled, refusing to open. I tried to force them open, but the intense pain was so strong it made me gasp with it’s power. Holding my hands up to my face I blew on them, hoping the cool air would sooth them. 
I turned to open my computer so I could google search a fix, but again my fingers stopped me. My felt my breath coming in sharp gasps. “God, no!” Deep breath. In. Out. In. Out. “God, if I don’t have the use of my fingers how will I be able to make music?” I was shaking by this time and I couldn’t stop. “I need my music. It’s part of me. It’s who I am. My music speaks the words that I don’t know how say. Music is my connection to the world. You can’t have my music. It’s Your gift to me and it’s not right for You to take back a gift.” I want to slam my fist on the bed, but the pain checks me. Instead I kick the mattress with every bit of strength I can get control of. “If I can’t have my music I’m done. I give up. I don’t want to live without my music. If You’re not going to give my music back, then please, take me, too.” 
Then flipping over I push my head under my pillow and scream into the mattress until I lose my voice. Then I fall into an exhausted sleep that brings me no peace. 
I wake up with a dread hanging over me. My music is just beginning to take off. There is no way I can handle the horribleness of it being taken away from me now. I feel my breath beginning to come in short gasps and I can’t handle it. 
“Madalyn.” Dad is shaking me awake and I stare into his face, wide eyed. 
“Dad?” I could feel my breath coming in short gasps and Dad’s face was worried. I clenched my teeth and sucked in a mouthful of air. 
“What is going on? You were screaming and we were afraid you were having a nightmare.” 
“A nightmare that transcends sleep.” I hold up my hands. “I knew that Lyme disease could effect the joints but I didn’t think it would actually attack my hands.” I shake them in his face. “My hands. I can’t do anything without my hands.” I feel the pressure falling down on me again, crushing me with it’s weight. “I can’t, I can’t do it.” I’m too upset for tears. “My hands hurt. Like they’re on fire.” I’m shaking, my whole body is trembling. “Dad, what will I do without my hands? It’s like a pilot going blind. A runner becoming crippled. If my hands don’t heal then my life as I know it is over.” 
“Madalyn.” Dad’s voice is calm. 
“Dad, now is not a time to be calm.” I pull the pillow over my face and scream. “My life is ending. Right before my eyes. And the pain, Dad! The pain is horrible.” I clench my teeth together. “If this is what Lyme disease is going to do to me, then I give up. I will not see my world slowly slip away and leave me without hope. I’ve struggled long and hard but I can’t get through this one. I’m not strong enough.” 
“Madalyn.” Dad sits down on the bed next to me. 
“For real, Dad.” I shake my head, “It’s too hard.” 
Mom comes in and sits on the other side of the bed, a little tube in her hands. She squeezes some of the lotion-ish stuff on the tips of her fingers and then gently begins massaging it into my hands. “Does this hurt?” 
I shake my head. “No. Thank you.” It actually soothes me. My hands. They’re practically useless. I begin to doze off, spent from my emotional outburst. As if from a great distance I hear Dad’s voice. It takes me several moments to realize that he’s reading the Bible out loud. I fall into a dreamless sleep. 

When Life Hands You Lymes #75

Good morning to all you wonderful people! Today I’m happy to have my computer working and my blog being updated at a reasonable hour. It’s one of those foggy, nearly raining mornings that are so beautiful. The world around me is bursting with greenness and I see raindrops clinging to the blades of grass and window panes like children playing piggyback. 
Can you believe that this is already the 75th segment of my fictional story When Life Hands You Lymes? I hope y’all enjoy! 

Some days I felt horrible. Other days I felt ok. And some days, those happy days that helped to spread hope to the tips of my toes, I felt as close to normal as I could remember feeling. 
It was then that the doubts started plaguing me. They scared me. Numbed me. Horrified me. I wasn’t supposed to feel like this. I was supposed to want to get better with every fiber of my being. Being sick wasn’t normal. Being sick wasn’t good. Being sick held me back from living the life I wanted to live. But it was my comfort zone. It was what I was used to. It was all I could remember. It took me a long time to admit it to myself, and even then I cringed with fear. I guarded my secret, didn’t even write it in my journal. I couldn’t let anyone know. I couldn’t say a single thing that would hint at the truth. Because if I did, then they would all know how bad I was. That I didn’t deserve to get better. That somehow, somewhere along the way I had changed. I might even be partly crazy. 
At night, though, my brain would come alive with fears. With different pictures of what could happen to me. I felt like I had to put on a show. I couldn’t, wouldn’t, dare not slip up and admit the truth. 
I was scared of being healed. I was frightened at the thought of being whole. I freaked out at the image that was never quite clear in my mind of a normal me. 
“Focus, Madalyn. Focus.” I took a deep breath then sat down at my piano. The swirling thoughts that were dancing around in my head confusing me soon took shape into notes as I ran my fingers over the keys. The shivers started in my legs and moved up to my arms as for the first time all week I began to have some sense of peace in my life. I closed my eyes and let my body sway with the music as I listened to my thoughts pouring out though a kaleidoscope of some unknown melody. 
I don’t know how long I sat at the piano bench, totally enthralled in the world I was creating, but eventually the pounding in my head subsided and my mussels began to relax. Pain became a memory and the anxiety I’d been bursting with transitioned into a deep stillness I could almost taste. 
What seemed like hours later I looked up to see Darrick leaning at the doorway, a sad smile on his face. 
I blinked, then continued feeling my way along the keys. 
Darrick didn’t say anything, but after a moment I felt him sitting on the bench next to me, a calm declaration of his support. I clenched and unclenched my jaw several times before finally giving into the tears that threatened and leaned into my brother’s embrace as I let the tears flow.

10 Snippets from *When Life Hands You Lymes*

This morning I hit the half-way mark on reading my WIP When Life Hands You Lymes. Since that’s somewhere around 300 pages and it took me weeks to work up the nerve to read it at all, I’m pretty pleased. And do you know what? It’s actually fairly good. I even decided to share some of it with y’all. (I’d been thinking of posting some of the snippets on here and then a blog I follow shared some snippets of her WIP and I was like Coolio! I should do that too! and so here you go.) 
So, just to make sure we’re clear: These snippets are unedited. I’ve been reading WLHYL on my phone  so I can’t get distracted with editing and I just took screen shots of some of the story. Without further ado, here it is:
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And there you have it, folks! Kind of a sneak-peak at what I have to work with when I plunge head-long into the second draft of When Life Hands You Lymes. As always I would be delighted to hear your thoughts and if you feel so inclined to let me know which snippet is your favorite that would make me very happy indeed. 

Then Comes the Second Draft

Recently when I haven’t been inwardly gushing at how darling sweet little Clara is or marveling at hitting a big milestone or traveling or going to weddings or hanging out with family members or trying to actually keep up with life and work, I’ve been mildly freaking out.

See, I finished the first draft of When Life Hands You Lymes back in the middle of April, dutifully waited the six weeks before looking at it again and then… instead of eagerly devouring the book like I had been planning on I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t even want to think about it. Much less look at it or work on reading through it. The thought of starting on the second draft? Ha! That made me feel like crying. And I’m not even being dramatic here.

It’s not fun having a such a huge part of my life fell so utterly tiring and out of reach and beyond my ability to work with. See, not only did I spend 465 days writing the book, but I spent seven years researching it. (Yeah, that’s a fancy way to say I had Lyme disease for seven years and when I call those years “research” it makes me feel a little bit better.) The point is I have a lot invested in this book. Which is probably why the thought of reading through it was so daunting.

I mean, what if it is absolutely horrible? I know that at one point it was because draft 1 is actually more like draft 1 & 1/2 because part way through I went back and deleted about 30,000 or so words because they were horrible and the main character was a whiny mess who I detested and wanted to lecture her on how the world didn’t revolve around her sorry little me-centered self. Plus, I needed to start the story at a totally new place, two years after the original first draft started.

Also, there was the problem that I constantly switched back and forth between first person past tense and first person present tense with the point of view and knowing I need to change that is a little bit overwhelming. At least I don’t head hop any more like I used to do constantly. (Hey! I’m growing as a writer. It’s a good thing.)

And then of course theres the whole “Do I have enough character development in there?” question because this is my first full length novel and in kid mysteries there’s not a ton of character development to be had. Pretty much character development has me shaking in my bare feet because it’s a daunting task. I don’t want my MC to be totally unloveable at the beginning but I don’t want her to be an angel at the end. Plus of course I don’t want it to come across the wrong way.

Oh, and when we’re talking about things that make me overwhelmed, we’ll just go ahead and mention the supporting character cast. Yeah. Deep breath. Other than the MC there are six characters who are in the book a lot: Madalyn’s parents, two brothers, sister and best friend. (I like family-ish people.) The first draft I focused mainly on Madalyn and what she’s going through but I know I’m going to need to delve into at least some of the other characters more and that’s a bit ahhh-ish to me. (Meaning freaky.)

All this to say that I haven’t even wanted to read the WIP, much less begin work on it. So it sat there. And sat there. And several times a day I would think Am I ready to read it? and the answer was always in the negative. 
Then on Saturday when we were on our way to an out-of-state wedding my brain suddenly was like “Ok, you can read the book now.” which was pretty cool and so I quickly pulled it up on my phone and began reading. And I actually enjoyed it. Quite a bit. There were actually times when I was like Wait, I wrote this? which is a good sign. 
This morning I read a little bit more and I’m now fully convinced that the book has potential. I’m excited about reading the rest of the book. I’m even more excited about sharing the book with others. That’s what makes me want to hurry and get the book through the second draft and then the third one. 
My original thoughts when I finished the first draft was to be done with the second draft (of part one) by my birthday (Sept. 30th) and then have the third draft done by Christmas time so I could get it off to beta readers by the end of the year. I’m not sure if those dates are what I’ll be aiming toward now, but at least I’m getting ready for take off which is a good thing. A very good thing. 
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What about you? Do you have something big in your life that you’ve just completed or are working on? I’d be delighted to hear! 

When Life Hands You Lymes #74

Hey y’all! It’s time for the 74th segment of my fictional story When Life Hands You Lymes. Please enjoy! 

“It’s called a herxhimer reaction.” Mom rubbed my legs as I lay in bed moaning. “It means that the medicines are doing their job and killing off the bad guys.” 
Mom and I had talked over the ‘herxhimer reaction’ before I started on the concoctions Dr. Shay gave me, but I hadn’t realized how horrible it would be. My legs felt like they had thousand-pound weights on them and my whole head hurt. 
“I’ve got to finish up some paperwork now.” Mom gave me a pity-filled look. 
I wanted to be with Mom constantly. For some reason I felt like a clingy one year old who wanted to be carried around by her parents. Closing my eyes I could picture myself a newborn being wrapped in blankets and nestled in Moms arms. The injustice of growing up seemed to hit me head on. 
“Is that ok with you?” I could tell Mom felt bad about leaving me. 
“That’s fine.” I hugged my teddy bear closer. I’d never even liked stuffed animals before.
“You could come down to my office if you want.” 
I shook my head. “I don’t want to get up.” I pointed at my computer. “I might watch a movie.” Movies. I had watched more in the past week than the previous year. Since the herxhimer effect out it’s wrath on me, I hadn’t even felt up to playing my violin or reading.  
A little while later there was a knock on my door. “Come in.” 
Julia stuck her head inside. “Your mom said you might like some company.” 
“Who?” If she meant company like herself, than yeah, but the thought of seeing people outside my family filled me with dread. 
“I have some work I need to do, just a couple of reports I have to write before tomorrow. I thought if you wanted I could sit in here. That way you wouldn’t have to talk or anything, but at least you wouldn’t be alone.” 
“Ok.” I hoped Julia could see through my one thin word and realize how much what she said meant to me. 
As she settled herself at my desk, I studied her. I had a really pretty friend. I glanced at my computer. Work. How I wished I could do work on it. I needed to get done but I hadn’t felt well enough to do anything worthwhile for several weeks. I didn’t stop dreaming though. I had made up my mind a while ago that no matter how far away hope seemed from me, I would continue holding on to it. 
Besides, I had a timeline now. One year. The doctor had said it would probably only be one year until I felt better. Some people would consider that was a long time, but after being sick for over two years without knowing if I’d ever be better, the promise of being better in one year was like a beacon of hope calling out to me. It’s what I kept foremost in my mind during the hard days. This was all part of getting better. And I would survive it. 

When Life Hands You Lymes # 72

Hey everyone! Yes, yes, yes… I know I’m very late with this post. I do have a good reason though. A very good reason. I can’t say quite yet what that reason is, but I’ll let y’all know tomorrow or Monday. (How’s that for a little bit of added intrigue?) 
So, here we are with the 72nd segment of my fictional story, When Life Hands You Lymes

“Well, Madalyn, you have Lyme disease.” 
My life that had been weaving out of control for the last two years skidded to a halt. “What did you say?” Excitement began bubbling up in my chest. 
“You have Lyme disease.” 
If I would have thought about it I probably would have considered it inappropriate to be thrilled at such a loathsome diagnosis, but I had a diagnosis and that’s what mattered. “Mom! Did you hear that?” Reaching over I shook her arm. I laughed and cried at the same time. “I feel like a horse-crazy child who just got her own pony for Christmas.” I danced around the room. 
“We have answers.” Mom’s smile matched mine as she got up and gave me a hug. 
“After two and a half years we can stop going to doctor after doctor getting poked and prodded and laughed at and made fun of.” I slump back in my seat in delight and relief. “My life has improved greatly in the last five minutes.” 
“Hope is a very powerful thing.” Dr. Shay smiled, producing another grin from me. 
Dr. Shay allows us a few more minutes to dwell and bask in the exciting news before she brings us back to business. “Recovering from Lyme disease is very possible. You’ll likely be told it isn’t, because some doctors lean that way. I’ve done enough research though, and I’m living proof to say with all confidence that you will one day be better.”
I nod. 
“It’s a process you’ll have to take very seriously though.” 
“I can do that.” 
“Madalyn is very disciplined,” Mom smiles. “She’ll do well with whatever regime you give her.” 
“I’m glad to hear that.” Dr. Shay pulls a folder out of a filing cabinet drawer. 
“How long will it take for me to recover?” The little bit that I read about Lyme disease the night before makes me think I need to be prepared to be in it for the long haul. 
“It will be a long process.” Dr. Shay avoids giving me a concrete-answer and gauges my reaction and goes on once she sees I’m not freaking out. “Imagine you as a sponge. When you’re healthy it’s like the sponge is being full of water. The Lyme disease has drained all the health from you though and that’s like the sponge being wrung dry.” 
I nod. 
“And since you’ve been sick for so long the sponge isn’t only wrung out, it’s also dried hard.” Dr. Shay taps the folder she’s holding on the desk. “What we’re going to do is pour so much nutrient into your body that eventually the sponge will soften again and in time fill up with water and you’ll be healthy.” 
“Makes sense.” 
“So you’re with me so far?” 
“Yes, ma’am.” 
“Can you handle more information?” 
“Do you know what a herxhimer reaction is?” 
“That’s what we call it when taking medicine makes someone with Lyme disease feel worse.” 
“Why is that?” 
“When you begin taking the herbs that kill the Lyme spirochetes then they die and make you really sick.” Her explanation goes on, but my brain refuses to keep up. “You’ve zoned out, haven’t you?” 
“It’s a lot to take in.”
“I know.” She smiles. “You’re doing fine and your mom’s taking notes so no worries.” 
I zone out, thinking of the difference between Dr. Shay and the other doctor’s we’ve gone to. Dr. Shay is by far my favorite and not just because she finally found a diagnosis for me. 
“I need you to focus for a little bit now, alright?” Dr. Shay’s question brings me back to the comfortable room we’re sitting in. 
“One of the most important things for getting over Lyme disease is ensuring that we’re filling your body with the most nutritious food possible. That means we’re going to have to totally cut out all processed foods, white starches and go mainly raw for the next six months.” 
I nod.