Okay, so Disney isn't really making a movie about Lyme & Co, but can we all agree that if we wanted to reach the largest audience possible without having to engage in worldwide combat and become the supreme leader of humankind, Disney would be the way to do it? I personally wouldn't mind Disney showcasing a chronically ill princess (or prince, but this is Disney, folks, the prince has to save the day because we must teach young girls their number one goal in life is to be rescued by a handsome prince who sweeps them off their feet and then happily ever after is just a hop, skip, and jump away--honestly, I don't have a problem with Disney, even though yes, they've historically furthered every stereotype that feminists and advocates of oppressed/misrepresented groups have worked to eradicate, but it's Disney, and I will love Disney until the day I die because Disney is magic).
Like I was saying, can you imagine a Disney film centered around a princess/female lead who had chronic Lyme? 10% of the film would be footage of the girl and her family traveling to various doctor appointments, and the remaining 90% of the film she'd be in bed, taking dozens of supplements/pills, piling blankets on only to take them off within two minutes, crawling on her hands and knees through the house just to get to the bathroom, unable to take a shower every day (one hot protagonist, right?), requiring someone else to make her gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, yeast-free etc. meals (on the days she's able to eat) and bring them to her while she tries to sit up in bed, and the tears--oh, the tears!
No, we're not likely to see this film in theaters anytime soon. But I submit the answer to, "Why not?" isn't as simple as, "Because it'd be a boring film." Because trust me, we Lymies are anything but boring! But the deeper answer really is that the formula wouldn't work. You know what I'm talking about--the Disney formula (and the formula of the majority of movies in existence): Exposition/setup of an intriguing premise and introduction of characters, rising action throughout the film that also introduces the central conflict of the film, an unavoidable climax throughout which viewers feel uncomfortable and want the film to just hurry up and get to the ultimate happy ending, which will tie up all lose ends (or just pretend there are none) and leave everyone (except the villain for whom we're all supposed to harbor anger/distaste) with a huge smile on their face, singing about how happy they are. And usually there's a kiss involved. After all, no matter how many times you've seen Prince Eric jump on the deck of a wrecked ship and steer the splintered bowsprit into the larger-than-life Ursula who has Ariel trapped in a maelstrom and the rest of the merpeople embodied as whatever those creatures are, you worry about whether or not Ariel and Eric will end up together this time and whether or not Triton and the rest of the merpeople will be restored to their original form. Or is that just me? Okay, if it's just me, let me think there are others. Eases my mind a bit.
But I digress.
The reason we won't see a film starring a character with chronic Lyme (and co-infections) is because there is no way to present a happy ending in an hour and a half. It's not realistic like giant evil sea witches being defeated and beasts turning into princes and wooden puppets becoming human are. In all seriousness, though, it's not a situation that would lend itself to being portrayed in a movie. Or even a mini-series or a TV show that runs a few seasons.
Because dealing with/healing from Lyme & Co often feels like a never-ending epic film (epic in the Homerian sense, not in the "dude that's epic!" modern day cool sense). One that goes through the entire movie formula, usually for years--except the happy ending only comes once, at the very end of an exhausting fight, and sometimes seems nowhere in sight as Lyme sufferers experience their first introduction to the disease, followed by the rising (in)action of their day-to-day lives, the countless conflicts and setbacks that lead to a climax of severe panic and anxiety and pain and tears which feels unbearable, and the falling action during which there may be periods of relief or glimpses of their former life with hope that they will be back to it someday, that flows directly back into another period of exposition/introduction each time they uncover another layer (or another co-infection, condition, or other health issue) of the illness, which results in more rising (in)action....and the cycle goes on and on.
And throughout the arduously long process, it's easy to lose sight of the progress you make along the way, but no matter how small the progress may seem, all progress is significant and deserves being celebrated.
For instance, it's possible for anyone reading this post to assume I've had a good-for-me day. I mean, who can go on such tangents about Disney (a source of enormous happiness and magic, as established above) unless they've had a good day? Doesn't the fact that I've written (what I hope is) a coherent post indicate that I've had a good day? Didn't I just ten days ago write a post about how much better I felt overall and the things I was physically able to do and how the full moon wasn't affecting me for the first time in a year?
Well, let me set the record straight. Yes, ten days ago that's exactly what I wrote. And it was all 100% true. It was also 100% falling action (which as we know sometimes brings the aforementioned periods of relief and glimpses of hope). The past 9 days have been an overwhelming downward slide (with the exception of being blessed enough to go to church on Easter, even though I had to leave early, and being able to have friends over for Easter dinner--I'm not discounting those wonderful blessings in the least). Most days I haven't been able to leave bed until late afternoon/early evening, and even then I'm using my walker or crawling on all fours into the living room, where I sit/lie on the couch until bedtime, but at least then I'm in the same room as Rog for the rest of the evening and we can feel a tiny bit of normalcy. Every single day of the past 9 days I have had unrelenting, excruciating stabbing pain in my ear and eye, and the all-too-familiar "Lymegraine" (Lyme-type migraine) where my brain feels like it's trying it's darnedest to explode and break out of my skull, and I've had to wear my trusty adjustable ball cap (for compression), along with my sunglasses and/or a cold pack over my eyes/head. And it'd be embarrassing to tell you how many different essential oils I've had to cycle for the head/eye/ear pain (Panaway, Valor, Peppermint, Copaiba, Frankincense, for starters) as well as the pain flares formerly known as just an "arthritis attack," which also makes it impossible to sleep, walk, sit, or have a conversation without screaming in pain. One other issue worth noting is that from two Saturdays ago until this past Saturday, I only slept every other night (meaning that 4 out of 7 nights I literally didn't get one single second of sleep).
But guys, I'm not focusing on all that. I'm not focusing on the pain, or the limitations, or the weakness or nausea. Sure, in the middle of a flare (or, even worse, one of my sudden onset herxes with hot flashes, muscle spasms, and the works), it appears like I'm focusing on it because I cry about the pain, but as far as my mental state goes, I'm not focusing on the pain or the setback because this is how recovery from Lyme goes.
I may be in the middle of a week and a half of consecutive bad days, and there's no telling when another period of falling action with glimmers of hope will happen again, but that doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because even in the midst of all of these struggles, heck, especially in the midst of our struggles, God's command for us is to trust Him and stop worrying about what we can't control.
His plan is perfect, and I have no business telling Him I'm not up for it, or telling Him I don't think it's a good plan, or trying to convince Him that my plans would be better. And giving up my need for control and order and planning in advance is easier said than done sometimes (okay, all the time), especially when my personality has always rivaled that of a(n?) AAA Energizer battery (so type A to the extreme), but it's absolutely integral for my mental, physical, and spiritual well-being to willingly surrender all of this to Him, because He's the only one who can continue to give me the peace that passes all understanding, a promise on which He's already delivering.
Plus, when I think about these 9 days and how bad they really have been, I'm able to recognize (with some help from Rog) that there have been times during this week and a half where yeah, I may have been in bed, but I've been able to sit up in bed and work on my mom's Mother's Day present or fiddle around with my website or read comic books. So we can always find something good if we look hard enough, even on the bad days. And what's even cooler is that last fall/winter/even just a couple months ago I was still having regular stretches of 9+ bedridden days with no relief whatsoever, whereas now, during just as long a stretch of bad days, I'm having moments of relief. And those moments, coupled with the existence of the occasional good days (like the one I wrote about 10 days ago) which were formerly nonexistent, is confirmation that I am still on the path to complete healing and God will bring that healing in His perfect time.
And until then, I'll keep fighting this fight against Ursula--er, I mean Lyme & Co--with every ounce of true love--er, I mean strength--I can.
Until I'm once again part of [my former] world.
(It had to be said)