Take The Good With The Bad

Good days always bring a bad one. ALWAYS. I will never quite understand why. But they always do. And I’m not talking about good attitude vs. bad attitude, that’s something we’ve got control over. And I’m not talking about good traffic vs. bad traffic, that stuff is pretty unpredictable.

Anyone with chronic pain can relate!

I’m talking about the Lyme life. The good days vs. the bad days. The manageable pain days vs. the ‘I’m not moving today’ days. The good energy days vs. the sleep all day days. I’m talking about the Lyme life pattern.

In Lyme terms, I’m fairly new to this whole fight. I’m just over 6 months into the diagnosis and treatment. I’m not sure what’s good and what’s bad. I’ve been trying very hard to decipher the new symptoms vs. the old symptoms. I’ve been trying my best to make each day a new day and not drag symptoms in from yesterday. I succeed some days, and other days I completely fail. I’m learning, each day, to start fresh.

Most days, having that attitude, that attitude of *it’s a new day, I can do anything* works. Most days I can be productive in some way, I can find the energy to have fun, I can cope with the pain, I can put a smile on my face, because I know my heart will be happy. Most days, looking at each day is refreshing.

But somedays just don’t always play out like that. Somedays I get stuck with feeling defeated, I am in pain that I have no clue how to cope with, the energy has been sucked right out of me and I have no idea where to begin looking for it, and it simply seems impossible to smile.

I have several good days, and then am HIT with a bad day. And I mean HIT. Everything hurts. My toes, my feet, my heals, my calves, my shins, my knees, my thighs, my back, my wrists, my forearms, my elbows, my biceps, my triceps, my shoulders, my neck, my head. Simply everything. But if I keep each day as it’s separate entity, it becomes easier to deal with the pain. I don’t have to focus on how I felt yesterday, or four days ago. I can deal with how I feel now. I can feel calm in the sense that I don’t have a need to focus on what happened yesterday. I don’t need to feel the pressure of being better than yesterday. I can let myself heal. I can push myself through the pain at my own pace, not yesterday’s pace. If I look at each day as a new day, it makes each day that much easier.

When people say, “You’ve got to take it one day at a time,” I know exactly what that means, I know it all too well. When people say, “Everything takes time,” or “In time, healing will come,” I know that all too well, too. However, being a slave to the clock, reporting to a calendar, having time fly around you makes healing that much harder. Yes, everything gets better in time, but time is a vast word. It’s a measure of speed, it’s a measure of endurance, it’s a measure of strength, it’s a measure of order (You’re watching the Olympics, right?). When people with a chronic illness or condition think of time, we think of ‘how much longer’. We begin to feel defeated because we do not know how much longer we can last,  or how much longer we can stay strong. Time in my world is a blur. Being sick has taught me to ignore the clock, ignore the calendar.

Being sick has taught me to focus on each day as a new day.

The sun rises every morning, whether you know it or not.

I wake up with the instant thought of, “do I feel better or worse than yesterday?” And immediately, I have to rewind and think, “how do I feel today?” Though the good days are better than the bad days, that’s a fact. I’ve learned to brave through each day as it were the same. I take the severity of a symptom and deal with it the best that I know how to.

The only thing I bring in to today from yesterday is my mental strength. My physical symptoms from yesterday and from the day before that and from the month before that matter to my doctor. I let the doctor worry about what the past was like. I fear that if I let yesterday’s good day compete with today’s bad day, I will feel defeated, I will feel I’m not strong enough. If I let yesterday’s physical strength be compared to today’s weakness, I will feel like I’ve lost the ability to fight.

I just have to take each day as a new day. My Lyme life is not a competition, it’s not a game. It’s simply my life. It’s simply a new day, a new challenge. Each day has it’s own good and it’s own bad, just some more good than bad and vice-versa.

For now, I will continue on with the knowledge that good days bring bad days. But I will remember, bad days bring good days.

Happy healing!

Elise Hendrickson

“She is tossed by the waves, but does not sink.”


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