On October 29, 2015, I got one of the worst calls that I have ever received. It was from my doctor and he said that my “Lyme disease diagnosis was positive”. He went on to explain that although I had “acute Lyme”, I would most likely have ongoing symptoms for the rest of my life.
At this period of my life, I was in horrible pain. I had extreme fatigue, severe muscle cramping (imagine teaching fitness classes when you can barely feel your legs!), tingling in my extremities, brain fog, depression and crippling digestive issues. I would lay in bed every night and cry. I had no idea why this was happening to me and couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life in this immense pain. I was incredibly scared, frustrated and felt completely alone.
Luckily, in this day of age there is the Internet. I was able to find a Lyme community and friends who helped me through the misery and also found solace in those who had recovered. There was hope! Fortunately, three years later I am mostly symptom free and am extremely grateful for my recovery.
So, how did someone with a debilitating illness go from being stuck in bed to becoming an animal activist???
The answer is so simple: when you have experienced suffering, pain, fear and loneliness, you do not wish that on any other sentient being! You can watch a graphic video of an animal at a slaughterhouse and completely empathize with them and the feeling of not wanting to lose your life. I can feel it in my bones and can feel the fire in my heart, trying to come up with strategies to make it stop! You see, animals know exactly what is going to happen to them. Most are sick, starving and have been tortured up until their death. They are scared and cannot make it stop…and they cannot turn to the Internet like I did to get support.
Today, I am a Lyme warrior and an animal rights activist. I spend my weekends volunteering for our local chapter of Anonymous for the Voiceless (that I am a proud organizer of). I spend time at local sanctuaries and try to educate the public daily about the horrors of the animal agriculture industry.
And today, I am grateful for my Lyme disease diagnosis. Who knows? If I hadn’t suffered the way I did, would I still have the desire to fight for the animals? I will never know but I truly think that everything happens for a reason. Maybe my reason for Lyme was to find my true passion in life as an animal activist.
For more information about my Lyme disease journey, please click here.