TOUCHED BY LYME: Running on empty
How Lyme can deplete your gas tank and leave you stranded by the side of the road.
Guest blog by Catherine Fox:
I did it again just the other day. I ran out of gas.
I accepted an invitation to meet my friends Susan and Eva for lunch in Maryland 25 miles away from my Virginia home, even though I already had a doctor’s appointment on my calendar for that morning.
I climbed into my car and drove thirty miles to my appointment. Then I got back in the car and, instead of going home, I drove to the restaurant. And then I ran out of gas.
Meaning that I hit the wall physically. And this keeps happening to me because I can’t get it through my head that Lyme means you never have the energy you wish you had. You want to do things you’d normally do, but wishing doesn’t make it so.
I’m learning to think of my energy like the gas in my car. At this point in my treatment, I would say I have about 1/8 of a tank.
That’s compared to my healthy self, and compared to most of the people around me in my daily life who enjoy a full tank—of Super Premium.
Not only do I have a lot less available mileage per day—but I can’t fill up again if I run out. That 1/8 of a tank is all I have to plan around for 24 hours.
The other day, it was enough for me to drive myself to my doctor’s office, spend 45 minutes at my consult, and come home feeling reasonably okay. Part of me knew that; another part of me listened as the voice of denial chimed in.
I wanted to see my friends; we three only get together once or twice a year. Our sons have known each other since they were four or five years old, and now they are all experiencing college life.
I wanted to hear all the details. And I wanted to hear them in person while enjoying a nice meal. Like a regular person.
So I ignored the yellow “approaching empty” warning light that was going off on my mental dashboard, even as I left the doctor’s office. Instead, I pushed along. I kept burning gas.
With adrenaline, I got through lunch, ignored my rising symptoms, and found my spirits rising in the company of good friends.
But I had a price to pay. By the time I made it home, I’d used up every drop of reserve in my tank. I felt so sick I had to put on my pajamas and retire for the night—at three o’clock in the afternoon.
I’m not going to beat myself up. But I am going to renew my efforts to avoid running on empty.
Because by resting now and allowing my body to heal, I’ll be making sure I can get back to that full-tank status I miss so much. And that’s worth sacrificing some miles for.