I wish I could say what made me think of writing about this, but it's very personal to a friend of mine. Nonetheless, it got me thinking about my own loss of years. It's easy for me to think, "Wow, six years, a significant portion of that time significantly disabled, fighting the fight of my life" and think it's not fair and that it was time lost.
I missed so much of my kids' lives because my time was spent in bed, or if it was a good day, on the couch. The kids would come in to me and with my limited attention and limited understanding of what was being said to me, I would hear about how everyone else was living their lives. I was not seeing football games my son played in, not seeing softball games, not going to school events ..... it even got to the point that my youngest wouldn't even tell me about the events at her school because she didn't want me to feel bad for missing them. I finally convinced her to tell me because sometimes I could push myself to get up and go.
Not only was I missing out, but I also felt horrible. So much pain. It's indescribable. If you've ever had the flu, multiply that by 10. Then add all the other symptoms on top of that. This kind of ongoing pain makes your mind crazy. It makes you think you'll take any way out, which is likely why the suicide rate is so high with Lyme patients.
It's easy to think "Why me?" and "It's not fair." The answer to the first question is, "Why not you?" And it isn't fair, who says it's supposed to be?
Back to my first point, that it would be easy for me to think it was time lost. It wasn't time lost. Not at all. Yes, it was spent differently than I would have chosen, for sure. Yes, it was miserable, and yes, I told God more than once, "Take me or make me better."
However, we each have our own paths in life. We each have our own obstacles. The person I become is the person who has lived through these experiences and has learned from them. I am a different person than I was before I was ill. I understand better the meaning of life and the meaning of death in a way that a healthy person never can. This is my experience and unique to me. If I hadn't gone through this experience, I wouldn't be the person I am today and I happen to *like* the person I am today.
My kids got through my illness just fine. They are also better people for it. They had to run the household with the help of their dad when I was sick. They all have practical lessons they've learned .... they can all get themselves off to school in the morning on time, wash their clothes, clean the house, cook dinner, and do the dishes. They have learned to be independent little people, very capable of handling what comes their way.
My husband was way too busy for one person, but what goes for me goes for him, too. He would be a different person today without what we experienced together.
I am very, very happy that I am well today, but I do not look back over my illness with regret. The experiences of those six years may not have been the experiences I would have chosen to have, but they are experiences in their own right, and these experiences make me who I am. I have more humility, patience, compassion, and love for others than I would have had otherwise.
Not years lost.