“Your breathing should flow gracefully, like a river, like a watersnake crossing the water, and not like a chain of rugged mountains or the gallop of a horse. To master our breath is to be in control of our bodies and minds. Each time we find ourselves dispersed and find it difficult to gain control of ourselves by different means, the method of watching the breath should always be used.”
~ Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation
Pain and I enjoyed a pretty intense relationship when I began my treatment for late stage Lyme disease at the beginning of 2013. My regime, which will last a minimum of three years, involves intense rotational use of various combinations of antibiotics, as well as diet, herbs and a myriad of other support tools. It’s a long road I’m walking, in order to regain wellness.
Recently, things have settled down a little. I’ve had more energy. I’ve been sleeping better. Pain has become an occasional thing rather than a stealer of breath and life-force. I’ve finally begun to feel good on my current meds combo.
That is, of course, until I brought in Drug Number Four.
I’ve slowly built up the intensity of three other kinds of antibiotic, anti-malarial and anti-bacterial that are the drugs on my current rotation. This combination was brutal to begin with, but I’ve reached the stage where I am now handling them well. Part of my treatment plan is to then bring in this fourth drug. It’s one I took earlier this year. It gave me fabulous longer term results, but it created a firestorm within my body while I was on it.
I’d been dreading bringing it back in. But of course I kept up this optimistic patter with myself, “You’ll be right, Nic. It will be heaps easier this time. It’ll be nothing like the last round.” I delayed taking the drugs too, because I wanted to be my best self for my recent retreat. So I took my first tablets on Sunday, seemingly without incident. I worked Monday, took all my drugs and didn’t skip a beat.
Then it hit me. About six pm on Monday night.
Oh God, I’d forgotten how intense the pain could be. That I would feel like I was dying all over again. That it would take all I had to bring my ragged breath back to some semblance of calm. Over, and over, and over again. All day. All night. Without cessation.
The good news? I’ll only need to take these drugs two days out of seven. It will get easier. It always does. Eventually. So, I’m breathing, and counting hours and minutes and moments.
I know, from previous experience, that the pain won’t kill me. That knowledge is my secret strength. I can endure this. One day, the pain will end, and I will be stronger, closer to healed, and I’ll have learned more about myself and the world.
It’s Friday today. I managed a few hours sleep last night. Today I’m a little better. Stronger. More determined. Sunday I’ll go Round Two with these drugs. Hopefully next week will be better than this week has been.
But it doesn’t matter. I’ll breathe my way through it. I’m in the killing zone. The bacteria that have made my life a misery are dying, so they can kick and scream all they want on their way out – just as long as they go.
I have things to do. Places to be. Trails to walk. Books to write. A husband who has his whole life on hold while I heal. So I’ll keep staring these squirmy little suckers in the eye until they back down.
Just watch me!
24 thoughts on “Breathing Through The Pain #LymeWarrior”
Love you Nicole. Hope it goes well. I was at the doctor on Wednesday and he asked for blood tests for lyme disease.
Nicole, this is so inspirational and an absolute great descriptor of the agony of this treatment. Know that your great words reach and touch the hearts of others and give them courage to soldier on as well. Bless and take care. Love and light Jocelyn
Wishing you all the best in your path to greater wellness. I struggle with pain & autoimmune issues, & can relate to your struggle.
I will say a prayer and send you beautiful healing energy. Four years of treatment for me…I know what you speak of. I am on a journey that I probably would not have been on, without the pain I endured. Much love to you <3
You astound me – so beautiful and generous!
Reblogged this on KSFINBLOG : Global Analyst and commented:
I always believe to live for the moment, when I read your blogs about how determined you are to live for tomorrow has started getting me thinking of doing the same. love and healing to you always Nicole.
Ma chère Nicole… I breathed as I read your post. Slowly. Deeply. It settled me in the moment. And now, as I write, I feel sad and hopeful and positive and confident for you. But most of all, I feel so damn helpless!!! I wish I could snap my fingers and land by your side so I could hug you and spend some time with you. I lift my cup of mint tea to you — CHEERS! And may the Universe grant you a sacred speedy recovery! LOVE YOU xox
I can’t imagine how this is for you…your endurance is amazing. I ‘ll put some gold circles around you and other Lyme sufferers.Love as always.
Those squirmy little suckers don’t stand a chance against you in warrior mode! Sending you and your fellow Lyme warriors love and healing.
Sending you heaps of love and pain-free breathing. You have a remarkable man at your side! A lot of men would have run away a long time ago. For that you are truly blessed! And I am sure it is a testament to the remarkable woman you are too! 🙂
Sending you love and hugs and a pain-free existence. You’re awesome, Nicole. I’m glad that you’re healing xoxoxoxoxo
Wondered why you had been MIA this past week; thought perhaps you were taking a well-earned rest. I am very grateful that your regime allowed you the opportunity to scale back on your meds during Retreat because I could not have coped with knowing you were in that amount of pain and discomfort. Knowing you have to load up on this particular med on Sunday’s, I will definitely put aside special prayer time for yourself and your fellow sufferers as well as those who are part of the support teams, both medical and personal. Warrior women have been around for centuries but today I salute your tenacity to live as normally as possible whilst you continue the charge in overpowering the Lyme revolt. Blessings beautiful lady. xox Mitch
Gosh, Nicole.blessings and healing coming your way xo🌷
I wanted to let you know that there is a fellow blogger who is also battling Lyme Disease; she is at Lessons Learned from the Flock, here on WordPress, her name is Wendy Thomas, and she is also on Facebook and Twitter, I think. My prayers to you…
I’m praying for you!
Thank you. If you could include all lyme sufferers and their families/carers that would be great. It’s such a hard, long road back to wellness. Bless xoxoxo
I very much hope the next round isn’t as horrible as the first. You sound strong and determined. Carry on x
Thanks, Gabriella! I hope so too, but I’m hanging in there. Shall be so glad when this round of meds is over. 🙂