I was so incredibly glad to be home on Sunday. Two weeks away makes everything look different, and my house (which needs an inordinate number of repairs) seemed so sweet -- perfect, almost. I decided that I love the red couch in the odd-shaped living room, the dining room table which actually only serves to hold piles of mail and newspapers, the love seat in the sunroom which I haven't touched since our visiting mouse decided it was one of his favorite perches. I am still not fond of the tub in my master bathroom, with its talent for growing orange mold, which excessive doses of Clorox seem unable to stop. But in that moment, even the moldy tub only bothered me a little. And I loved my life.
France, on the other hand, was rather a disaster. Lyme disease and international travel don't mix. I'm not sure why this year is so much worse than last. I could handle England last summer, which was a much more demanding trip. But in the last several months, I've not even been able to complete a ballet class (on the rare occasion I've been able to go I've not been able to do more than barre) and a very good day is one in which I'm able to work 4-6 hours. If I can manage the grocery store as well, that's something to celebrate. I'm not sure why I thought I could handle an international trip. I had faith that things would be better, I guess.
I wandered around Paris in a semi-catatonic state, the kind of deep exhaustion that is too much to actually enjoy anything. When we made it to our Mediterranean villa, I had a series of lost days and couldn't leave the house. It was a lovely place to be stuck, but infuriating all the same.
One of the hardest things about this disease is that my friends, no matter how much they love me -- and I know they do, and they try to understand -- can't understand what I'm experiencing because they've never been through it themselves. I hope they never do. But at times I also feel very alone.
So I flew home thinking, Fuck Lyme disease. I've had it.
(Okay, my mom is going to read this. And I know there are other gentle readers out there. But I can't find any other word to capture the depth of my frustration. So pardon my French -- or as my friend Bev said when we were in Paris, pardon my English.)
The problem is that willpower alone is not enough to beat this. If it were, I would have won long ago, I'm convinced. I'm incredibly strong (and strong-willed.) Crazy-emotional, but strong.
The doctor told me yesterday that it's normal that I'm not feeling much better yet, that six weeks on antibiotics is too soon to start seeing significant improvements. He said it's a good sign that in some ways my symptoms have gotten a little worse on the antibiotics -- a sign that the antibiotics are attacking the disease in its cyst form, and breaking it up, so that in the short term my body is actually having to deal with more of the active virus rather than less. He added two more pills to the mix -- another antibiotic and another supplement. My stash of pill bottles above the sink looks like it belongs to a 90-year-old.
It's going to be a longer haul than I was hoping for. I still beg God for healing on the days when I have enough faith for that. Perhaps he's only going to work through the slow medical process. That's more hope than I had several months ago, but today it feels long and painful and uncertain.
I don't want more vacation. What I really want is some quiet space, and the energy to do very good work.
And, when I'm better, to go back to England.