Right now, my goals seem so far out of reach, and my one and only dream seems to be held hostage by a disease.
My one dream for the past several years: Go to my dream school, University of Puget Sound, right after high school and find out what Tacoma, Washington has in store for me.
My dilemma: Chronic Lyme Disease
You see, Chronic Lyme Disease, or any chronic illness is devastating and destructive, it’s hard and sad, it’s maddening and confusing. Chronic Lyme Disease has stolen multiple things from me, and I’m not exactly best of friends with the dang thing. My dream, for so long, has been to attend University of Puget Sound and pursue a degree in health sciences (the specificity of it has varied). When I realized that Chronic Lyme was robbing me from my friends, my social life, my church life, my service life, my work life, and my academic life, I did my best to stay positive. I didn’t let Lyme steal my faith from me, I didn’t let Lyme steal my hope. I didn’t let Lyme steal my dream. My dream remained my motivation for the remaining months of high school. Lyme wasn’t going to kill my vibe, completely (though it was taking a toll).
I made sacrifices in school and had to alter my class schedule to graduate. I stopped making an effort to see friends because it was too much to handle. Relationships disintegrated into mid air, hobbies fell through the cracks, vacation time was just another sick week. I was being robbed of my life; my 18th year of life began to be ripped out of my hands, all because of a stupid disease.
A disease that nobody seems to be educated about, yet it’s being considered the latest epidemic in the world, not just the United States. Lyme disease is progressing from ticks, to mosquitos and bed bugs. Lyme disease is no joke, and nor should it be treated like one. Chronic Lyme Disease has robbed so many people of opportunities, and even lives. I am truly lucky to be able to lay here, at 1 a.m. and type this. I am truly blessed to have found an LLMD who cares about me and wants to make me better. I am truly grateful for the parents I have who love me and take care of me, even at my worst, and who support my treatment financially (because Lyme is NOT cheap). I am truly lucky to only have had part of my high school career robbed from me, and not my entire childhood. I am truly thankful to have my dream just postponed, not taken away.
I am hard on myself, as are most lyme patients. We want to get better, we want to be doing as much as we can to get healthy; but at the same time, we don’t want to do anything because chances are it’s going to make us feel worse for a short time. Our minds battle our bodies, and vice-versa. We are conflicted because some things work, some things don’t, and it often takes time to see what works and what doesn’t. We get frustrated because not every change happens over night and we just want to feel better now. We get sad because we miss our old lives and we want to be who we used to be, again. We are hard on ourselves, because we want to be better than we are allowed to be at this time. We don’t want to have our dreams robbed from us.
I want to be better, now. I want to be healthy, now. I want to learn, now. I want to go to college, now.
I want, I want, I want. I get so caught up in what I want, when really what I need is so much more important.
I need to get healthy, in time. I need to get stronger, in time. I need to build endurance, in time.
Once I know what I need, I am able to see what I will do.
I will be healthy, soon. I will be be strong, soon. I will go to college, soon.
Yes, my dream of going to college right after high school is gone. I had to give that one up. But, I still get to go to my dream college after high school. That dream of going to my dream college isn’t gone, it’s just postponed.
Have you ever had a MAJOR come-to-Jesus-moment? Like when you’re driving and you hear something or think of something, and you just realize what you really need to do with your life? Yeah, that happened to me one day, driving home. I had a long day of school (only 2 hours, haha), and then 3 hours of nannying. I got in my car, plugged my phone in and hit shuffle. The first song that came on was “Let It Go” by James Bay. I was just singing along and all of a sudden these lyrics rang through my head,
“I used to recognize myself
It’s funny how reflections change
When we’re becoming something else
I think it’s time to walk away”
This song is about a relationship… to me, it’s about a relationship with me and myself. Who I wanted to be at the time, who I was trying to force myself to be, and who I really needed to be. I knew that I couldn’t be who I wanted to be a year ago, at that time. I knew that something, big, had changed. I slept on the thought for a couple of days. I brought it up with my parents, and they said they’d support me with whatever I decided. That thought? Deferring from college. I texted my best friend, Brooke, and said I was coming over to talk. I went over one night, late, and we sat at the counter and talked about the decision for some time. I left her house feeling confident, but a tiny bit conflicted. On my way home, I called Tim and brought it up with him. There was silence for several seconds, as if he was worried. He then said, “I’m not surprised. I think you need a break, you’ve seemed different lately.” That was my cue that I needed to focus on something else other than my dream. I needed to focus on the now, for now. I ultimately knew that I needed a break from what had been my life for so long, school. I needed to rest.
I made the decision to defer from University of Puget Sound and prayed that the deferral process would go smoothly. I knew that the decision was right when I received an open-scholarship check that would completely cover the deferral deposit. Man, does prayer really work. I knew, then, that my decision was the right one.
Move in day for the class of 2020 at UPS is this Friday. In March we made a plan. My plan was to road trip out to Tacoma with my brother in my Honda Pilot for 4 days. We would camp along the way and stop at our cousins house in Spokane. We would meet my parents at the airport in Seattle and head to campus to move in. That was the plan. That was my goal. I would be on the road to my dream, literally, right now.
I lay here, in my bed, in Georgia, with tears rolling down my face, thinking, “What the heck happened? How did I get here? Wasn’t I supposed to be there, now?” I sit here typing about what could’ve been. I am sad. Really, really sad. Kind of disappointed in myself. Kind of frustrated with my situation. Really mad at the dang little devils in my body.
I didn’t do this to myself. I can’t blame myself, I can’t blame God, I can’t blame my parents or friends. I do not blame anyone or anything. This stuff just happens.
I remain hopeful and faithful. I remain calm and at peace with my decision to defer. I remain confused and unsettled by the disease. But, I know that my dream is just postponed, not taken away.
I lay here, in my bed, in Georgia, with tears rolling down my face, thinking, “Thank God for answering my prayers. Thank you Jesus for giving me people to give me advice and confidence. Thank you God for placing these precious people in my life. Thank you God for allowing me to make that decision. Thank you Jesus for giving me an opportunity to rest. Thank you Jesus for keeping me alive and relatively healthy.” I sit her typing about what is and what will be. I am sad. I am blessed with incredible people and a most perfect God. Kind of frustrated with my situation. Really mad at the dang little devils in my body. Hopeful for my future. Grateful for the opportunities presented.
To the UPS class of 2020: Go kill it! Make a difference in Tacoma and rock it! I am so excited for all of you and so, totally wish I was joining you on Friday. Have a blast this year and I will see you all on campus next year! I hope to visit at some point this year! (Jenna, I’m counting on you on taking me under your wing for a weekend!)
To chronically ill people who are dealing with college/future decision: Pray about it. Ask questions and ask for advice! There are many people out here that are making the same decision or have made a decision similar. You’re not alone, and it’s okay to feel sad and disappointed! But, remember, whatever your dream is, it doesn’t have to be erased, it just may need to be altered or postponed. Keep your head up! I am always willing to help someone out if ya need it (:
Though I’ve made sacrifices galore and parts of my life have been ripped out of my hands; I am at peace, for I know my dream isn’t robbed, it’s just postponed.
“She is tossed by the waves, but does not sink.”