Having Lyme disease is often a life-altering experience, like no other health problem you’ve ever had or could imagine ever having. If it’s not caught and treated early, Lyme produces a wide-range of debilitating symptoms. No two Lyme sufferers have exactly the same complaints. Lyme is tricky to diagnose. It’s harder to treat, especially because it usually comes with other infections that also need attention.
If all this weren’t enough, the medical community seems woefully unprepared to help people who have or suspect they have Lyme. Many doctors know little or nothing about Lyme, telling their patients not to worry or that it’s “all in their heads.” Some even say “there’s no Lyme around here” when in fact there is. In the US, patients get caught in the crossfire of sniping between two groups of doctors with competing views on what Lyme is, or isn’t, and how to treat it. And many insurance companies won’t pay for long-term Lyme treatment, leaving disabled people with little or no recourse for extended care.
There are very good reasons for Lyme patients to be scared and angry. Many are.
I’ve come to see, however, in my 6 years of Lyme treatment and probably over 30 years of having Lyme without knowing it, that fear and anger don’t help me heal. More important, fear and anger don’t help me accept that much of what happens in life is out of my control.
This all came to mind when I ran across a short essay in The New York Times titled Our Health and the Luck of the Draw. Written by Danielle Ofri, M.D., an internist at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital, it’s a wise antidote to the cynicism and frustration that often runs through our lives and conversations when our health is challenged, especially with Lyme.
Dr. Ofri observes:
We imagine medicine as a rational science, and we imagine our attention to our lives and our bodies pays off in reasonably predictable ways. But our health and well-being is much more bound to random chance than we’d like to think.
The rest of the essay is at http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/12/when-health-is-the-luck-of-the-draw/
Whether you are exploring the possibility that you or someone you love has Lyme or are already diagnosed with Lyme and into treatment, the essay should give you pause.
Sometimes things don’t turn out how we want them to and the best we can do is accept them and go willingly where our circumstances lead us.
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