In the waiting room at Dr. J’s office in DC, there was a man who was rolled out in his wheelchair by one of the nurses. He had completely lost his ability to walk and did not have any use in his hands. His hands were curled up and positioned in a way that someone with severe rheumatoid arthritis would have and he had a neck support on his chair as I am assuming he would probably have a hard time holding his head up on his own.
He seemed to be waiting for someone to pick him up, so Dave and I decided to spark up a conversation with him while we were waiting to be called in for my appointment. We told him that we were from NH, and that we fly to get to Dr. J’s, and that I have been on treatment for nearly a year but I am new to the clinic. He said that it was about an hour drive for him so he was happy he didn’t have an extremely long haul and had been seeing Dr. J for the past three years.
We got further into talking, our medical history, and he said about 20 years ago his feet started swelling constantly in pain and he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, but something just didn’t seem right. He told me that he was then misdiagnosed with having ALS, which you all probably know is an extremely horrible death sentence. He was given numbers drugs and antibiotics for his condition and felt they overdid it, as this when he became completely wheelchair bound and did not know what to do.
He said one day he was an outdoorsman and had a passion for racing cars, and it felt like the next day he was in a wheelchair, with no ability to do anything for himself. It took him many years, but he finally found the answers he wanted and needed through Dr. J. He had a smile on his face and said to me, “Even the way I am now, after my 3 years of treatment, I am so happy that I have had improvement with pain free days.”
It got me thinking…. a man in his situation, with literally no control over his body anymore not only shares a smile but stays so positive in his fight. He then went on to tell me, ” I have seen even worse come through these doors, I am lucky.”
It also shows that Lyme manifests itself in many different ways. I have had symptoms since I was a child, so over 20 years ago, but my symptoms are very different than his and much less severe. Every single person is different.
I don’t mean to minimize anyone’s situation, but that is a man who has it very, very bad. Many people love my positivity and strength through my battle, but he has me beat a million times over. It gave me a true reality check. I may have gone through absolute hell this past year but I am positive it is not even comparable to what that sweet man has to deal with every single day.
I think my message here is, no matter how tough things get, whatever situation you are in, you MUST keep positive and ALWAYS keep smiling. It’s the only way you will get through it. 🙂