Raising Awareness for Lyme Disease

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Last week I was thrilled to speak at my high school’s chapel and share with the student body how my Lyme disease became a blessing (watch it here).  How fitting that May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month!  I am passionate about sharing my testimony to hopefully inspire others and use knowledge gained from my own health struggles to educate people on health eating and living.   Without my Lyme diagnosis and health issues, I never would have been inspired to start Health and High Heels.  It’s integral to find the silver lining in even the most painful and challenging situations in life because often the hardest situations are also the most fruitful.

 

 

What is Living with Lyme Really Like?

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I apologize for the lack of posts the past few weeks.  Lyme Disease has really taken a lot out of me physically, and it has been such a struggle to even complete the minimum daily tasks lately.  Unfortunately, this struggle is invisible because on the outside I look like a normal teenage girl who goes to school and loves spending time with friends and family.  However, although both of these things are true, people do not see my constant struggle against awful headaches, nausea, joint pain, stomach pain, dizziness, lethargy, and so much more.  The amount of supplements, antibiotics, pills, drops, powders, and shots that it takes to allow me to (sort of) live my life is tremendous!  I wanted to share this picture of (almost) everything I take on a daily basis in order to raise awareness for the debilitation that often comes with this unforgiving disease.  I am also beginning IV treatment this week, so soon even more things will be added to my regimen.

The hardest part about living with Lyme is that it is invisible.  I look fine on the outside, but on the inside I am dealing with both the physical and emotional pain of having a chronic illness.  Because people cannot physically see the pain I am in (unlike if I had a broken arm and they could see my cast), they have often doubted whether my pain was existent and whether I was exaggerating or just making it up for attention.  Before my diagnosis, some doctors even told me I had conjured up a fake illness in order to gain attention.  Anyone who knows me knows this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Thankfully I have my friends and family to support me, and I am so thankful for all they have done to help keep track of my daily health routine as well as just bring a smile to my face when I am sick.  I have learned not to let the people who oppose me (like the few doctors) ruin my joy or stop me from appreciating everyone else who continually cheers me on.

Lyme Disease may have a lot of negative aspects, but I have also come to find the good in my diagnosis.  Without Lyme, I would not be as aware about healthy eating and would have never started Health and High Heels.  I would have never met certain people who are not only fellow Lymies, but also great friends.  I would have never realized that I want to go into nutritional science and medical school in order to help people like me in the future.  No matter how bad the situation may seem, there is ALWAYS some sort of good that will come out of it, even if you don’t realize that at first.

Did you know?

According to LymeDiseaseChallenge.org, “Lyme Disease has been called “The Great Imitator” and can be mistaken for ALS, MS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, and other illnesses.”

I Have Joy Despite My Circumstances

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About a month ago I was scrolling through Instagram and stumbled upon an awesome post with the quote “Just because I smile and laugh doesn’t mean I’m not in pain.”  This really resonated with me as a fighter of Lyme disease and so I commented, “It just means I have joy despite my circumstances.”  That is one of the things having Lyme has taught me–to persevere through tough situations and to be joyful despite the difficulties I face.  Little did I know that anyone would really pay attention to my comment or even be inspired by it! A couple days later I was tagged in a Twitter post by a fellow Lyme fighter who had seen my comment and decided to make this picture inspired by my quote!! How awesome is that?!  It makes me incredibly happy to know that I inspired someone 🙂 This quote not only pertains to the struggles of Lyme disease, but also any challenges life may throw your way! Also, just last week, the same person who made the picture (Super Woman Simplified) wrote a blog post inspired by my comment! Please check it out!