Many of you have been following my journey in child life, but most of you don't know my story other than my grandparents battling cancer.
When I was 6 my dad was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease is something that is becoming more common, but many people don't know the effects that Lyme can play on a person's life. Many people don't know that it can be deadly. In my dad's case, it almost was. For our sake, he is still here 15 years later. The tole that his journey has played in my life has not only shaped me into who I am, but the way that I see so many people.
Lyme Disease can be a silent killer if it goes untreated. My dad was always an active person (he still is), but when he was first infected, we didn't know what was wrong with him. I don't remember most of the beginning stages (mainly because my parents tried to keep our lives as normal as possible), but he began placing things milk in the pantry or bread in the fridge. Obviously, something cognitively wasn't right. My mom took him to my uncle who is a doctor for blood testing and something came back wrong.
They moved him to an infectious disease doctor that diagnosed him with Lyme Disease and so our journey began. My dad started treatment with rosphen. This form of treatment isn't what they use today and for good reason. The medication began to deteriorate his joints. So, his journey with surgeries began. During this time, my parents tried to make this as normal as possible for my sister and I. We obviously knew something was wrong because they were gone to the doctors visits and hospital a lot, but they always brought gifts back. I'll never forget those gifts. They made things a little bit easier.
But it got worse, a whole lot worse before it got better.
My dad was moved home and had a pic-line put in so that he could do treatments outside of the hospital. There was one specific day that I will never forget and that was the day I thought he was going to die. We had a home healthcare nurse for him, but she wasn't able to be there everyday so my mom was the one who had to administer his medication. This day, was a day that made her. If she administered the medication too quickly it could stop his heart and kill him. By the grade of God, somehow my mom did this everyday and never once slipped. Mommy, I love you and this is as much of your story as it is any of ours. Thank you for saving him. Thank you for being brave enough to do this. No one will ever know what this did to you, but i do.
My dad had a lot of cognitive and physical disabilities from this. He was put on anti-depressants which ultimately changed him, until one day he quit. Which as many of you know, could have killed him. This was when our story took a turn. My dad had fight again. He continued to fight this battle until he overcame. His pic-line was removed, he was off all medication and his surgeries were over. I had my dad back.
There will never be enough time to explain the effect this had on me, but I do know I view people differently. People can't look at someone and tell they have a chronic illness or disability or even parents with these things, but I know it's possible. We are ALL fighting battles and demons. The way I live my life has a lot to do with my dad. I struggled for years finding the peace I needed with this journey and I still am. I watched my dad suffer in some of the worst ways, but I also saw him overcome. He lives with this disease still and always will. He battles it everyday. His joints are weak, his immune system isn't the best and his body isn't always capable to do things he should, but he keeps fighting.
Daddy, I am so glad you made it. I am who I am today because of you.
Mama, I have no idea how you have lived the life you have and overcome the things you have, but you are one true angel. You have dedicated your life to saving everyone else's that we love. You deserve everything this world has to give.
Jennifer, thank you for distracting me, raising me and helping me become my best self. I couldn't have overcome this without you.
My family has so many stories, but this one has shaped me from the time I was 6 until now. I pray you all can take this and change the way you may look at certain things. Everyone is fighting a battle you can't see.