Life & health
It’s been more than three years since I’ve been able to blog, and now I’m not sure where to start. As readers and friends know, after dealing with a mysterious chronic-fatigue-inducing illness for years, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2006. I rejoiced to finally have a name, to know that it wasn’t in my head, and to have a plan of action for treating it. Health seemed possible again. But the journey getting back to health has been far more than I ever bargained for.
I assumed with my determined spirit and no-holds-barred approach to getting well that I could lick this thing in a matter of months. I had no idea how sick I was and how little is known about chronic Lyme and how to treat it. Or that the treatment would, in some ways, be harder than the disease itself.
Eventually, my journey with Lyme will be a book. (Actually, I was under contract to write that book, but was unable to finish it — ironically, because of the Lyme. Ugh.) It’s been by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to deal with. I can’t put into words what I’ve lost because of this illness — the years of not being able to work, the years of not being able to simply get off the couch and live. I’ve faced depression unlike anything I ever could have imagined. But — while I would never wish this on anyone — I also can’t put into words what I’ve gained. An understanding of God’s great mercies, expressed so tangibly through family and friends. The way this has molded me into someone different and in many ways better. A sense of protection and strength in the midst of horrible vulnerability and weakness.
In my favorite William Cowper poem, one I talk about in A Walk with Jane Austen, he says:
God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
God’s hand has been here, in the midst of the storm.
I’m unspeakably grateful for my doctor — the second doctor who has treated me, who has been carefully isolating and treating various infections over the last 2+ years. As it turns out, as in many cases of chronic illness, I suspect, there were things that had weakened my immune system and made me susceptible before I ever got Lyme. Then, with years without a diagnosis, my system succumbed not only to the Lyme and co-infections, but to other opportunistic things that came along.
The wonderful, fabulous, unbelievable, joyous news is that health is still possible, and that I’m headed there. It’s impossible to tell how long the treatment will take, but I see signs of progress all the time — enough to give me tangible hope.
I’m well enough to work again — still not as much as I would like — and I’m thrilled to be back here with you all. Thank you for your love and prayers over the years! There have been so many sweet emails and comments that I haven’t been able to reply to, but I can’t tell you how much they’ve meant to me.
Lori, I’m sending you a big hug.
I’m glad you’re able to write again (at least a bit) — you’re such a good writer. And thanks for being so vulnerable, even on this blog post.
Thinking about you as we both journey toward health,
So glad you are back! Looking forward to reading more from you. Will pray for continued improvement in your health.
Thanks, Diane! So appreciate your prayers.
Lori, I am overjoyed to hear of your progress, and for the hope that emanates from what the world would consider such a sad story. What a testimony you are! I will be sharing this blog with my Bible Study.
Candice — thank you, friend! It’s been amazing to see this become a place of hope.
How are you? Amy Felt put a link to your blog on Facebook and I saw it and wanted to say “Hi!” I hope you’re doing well!! I have two daughters and am hoping that they will love reading as much as I do! So far, they do! My older daughter, Caroline is in kindergarten and has just started reading on her own – it’s very exciting! My younger daughter, Abby just turned 4 and loves to be read to so we’re off to a good start, I think! Take care!!
Darcey — It’s wonderful to see you! Congrats on the two little ones! Gotta love passing on great stories and a love of reading. I will look for you on Facebook!
I’m glad you are on the road to better health. I thoroughly enjoyed _A Walk With Jane Austen_ and it sits on one of my Jane Austen shelves. Gina Dalfonzo put a link to your new site over on the Breakpoint.org Blog. I’ll have to hunt down copies of your other books and look forward to reading your blog.
Thanks so much, Ellen! I was able to move your comment to this post, so I’ll go ahead and delete the other one.
I am so glad to hear that you are doing better! I was wondering if you were too sick or what had happened. I so look forward to reading more from you! Praying for your treatments to help you get even stronger.
Have just finished reading ‘A walk with Jane Austen’, which I bought to give to my older sister, a committed Austen follower. I was almost embarrassed by your openness and vulnerability, and wondered if some was really suitable for publishing because it was so intimate and self disclosing. I felt I could have written it at the time you did, 2007, but a rigorous examination of my faith and life hopes and expectations has, sadly led me to some different conclusions.
I grew up on the 19thC novel, subsequently studying it at Uni. I was a Pastor’s daughter and so like you, have been soaked in this mind set/world view.Like you I have had romantic hopes and expectations, and been disappointed in them. I have believed G-d would honor my noble intentions and actions…several years ago I met my dream American man, who came to be a writer and teach, set up a theater company, as I longed too. From our initial meeting I was puzzled by the woman baking in the kitchen, who listened in to our vibrant, laughter filled conversations without understanding or contributing. Why was he with someone so unsuited to his aspirations? After a few weeks she confided in me that his mother, right up until the evening before his wedding, had begged him not to marry her, because she was ‘the wrong girl”. I walked away, to honor G-d and their marriage, trusting that this decision would, eventually, be honored. Ultimate ‘Christian’/ “Austen’ don’t you think?
It hasn’t been. Many years of unendurable loneliness have followed. I regret not grasping my chance, which is shocking I know. All has not been well.
Did you make it back to the UK? I stayed at The Magdelena years ago. If you return would like to treat you to a cream tea, and share a swim in the new Roman Spa..
Bizarrely, before I had even finished your book I had decided to find, and cherish, a rescue dog, a King Charles spaniel perhaps…
It has been thought provoking to “meet you”, the timing has been right. I wish you recovered health, and much happiness.
Thanks for your note, Tia. I’m sending you more of a reply by email.
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