June 2016 to May 2017

Since I graduated in June 2016 to now, May 2017. Here’s how I decided to summarize the whirlwind of a year.

Summer 2016: June to August

Little recollection of graduation. Saying goodbye. Crying. Emotional.  Tattoo. Moving 1,110 miles away. Adrenaline. Family. Exhaustion. Sick. Headaches. Body pain. No energy. No sleep. Lack of focus/concentration. Conversations were difficult. No knowledge retention. Bed and couch. Pool. Baths. Missing Minnesota. Trying to make it through each day. Being honest, it was a complete blur. Zero expectations.

Fall 2016: September and October

New doctor. New medicines. New protocol. New plan. More energy. More pain. Ability to read a book. Sleep schedule starting to normalize. Headaches. Generally fatigued. Trying to work on finding balance. Minnesota. Florida. Minnesota. Adventure. Being alive. Finding positivity again. Regaining faith. Seeking hope. More yoga. Zero expectations.

Winter 2016-17: November to February

Memory coming back. Ability to concentrate. Emotional. High pain. Energy stabilizing. Sleep schedule normalizing. Moderately fatigued. Headaches. Spent 12 days in Minnesota on my own. More med changes. IV Rocephin. Ability to learn. Need for structure and purpose. Photography. Adventures. Yoga. Family time. Determination to get better increases. More hope. Rediscovering my love to sweat. Ability to hold conversation. Thyroid medication disaster. Zero expectations.

Spring 2017: March to May

Paleo diet. Increase energy. Increase strength. Photography. Stomach aches. Headaches decreasing. Overall pain and fatigue decreasing. Stamina and endurance. Love for learning. Motivation for college. Determination to get better. Beach. Weekend at friend’s college by myself. Sense of direction is back. Feeling hopeful. College prep starts – found a roommate!Yoga teacher training. Working out. Yoga. Walks with Twig. Needed sleep decreases. Zero expectations.

What All That Means

The majority of my symptoms have decreased in severity. I’m finding my passions. I’m putting more and more faith in God. I’m continuing to take steps in forward motion with positive intentions. I’m doing my best to stay on top of the meds. I’m learning balance. I’m finding motivation and determination to get better. I’m getting excited to start my life, but not forgetting the amount of work that I still need to put in. I’m remembering to listen to my body and to take care of myself.

Chronic Lyme Disease puts life into perspective, provides opportunities to learn about faith and hope, and creates possibilities that might never have happened otherwise. Chronic Lyme Disease has made me realize what truly matters and what really doesn’t. Chronic Lyme Disease has given me the ability to grow in my faith, discover a path in yoga that I don’t know I ever would’ve pursued if I’d gone to college right away, and has made me step back and see all aspect of life with a bigger purpose. It’s hard to see the light when something seems so dark, but it’s so critical to keep the faith and finding what kind of good can come out of something that seems so devestating.

Yes, Chronic Lyme Disease is destructive, disabling, and derailing. But, getting sick has made me find strength within myself I don’t think I would’ve uncovered, possibly ever. I thank God for everyday, for every person, and for every opportunity. This life would be pretty boring if we didn’t have rollercoaster-like seasons.

This gap year hasn’t been what I expected, and I can tell you that going into this year, I had pretty low expectations. When you basically missed your senior year, graduated high school because of gracious teachers, and had extreme uncertainty of the future, expectations get broken down pretty quickly. Expectations are destructive; having a need to achieve something that is out of my control is unrealistic and unproductive. Having expectations for this year would’ve put more stress on my body and mind, making me sicker and setting me further back in my recovery process.

I’m glad I’ve learned to take each day at a time. I’m glad I’ve learned that my path isn’t God’s path. I’m glad I’ve learned to surrender and listen. I’m glad I’ve learned to just be still. This year has been a real battle. I’ve been fighting for my health, and it seems that I may finally have my energetic self back within reach. I’ve still got a ways to go, but this year of nothing has allowed me to heal in a stress-free environment, and for that, I’m eternally grateful. I’m pretty confident in the fact that if I’d gone to college in August 2016, I would’ve been sicker now than ever, I would’ve been further behind in school than ever, and I would’ve been failing as a 19 year-old.

Here’s to the next year of fighting. Cheers to the progress that’s been made. A million thanks for all of the support and love. Let’s start talking.

Elise Hendrickson

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

For more info on my gap year: Taking a Gap Year and A Dream Postponed 
My tattoo: click here



I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s