First, I hear the raindrops bouncing off our windowsill. Then I slowly open my eyes. I made it. The room is dark but weak October light is creeping from behind the curtains. It’s morning. At some point the nausea has retreated and I’ve fallen asleep. Deep, dreamless sleep. The kind of sleep that comes after the most berserk and shattering of battles. I can taste last night’s dinner in my mouth, the recycled version. I turn around, William is still sleeping, just as knackered but on a full stomach. I close my eyes and try to sleep some more. The nagging throbbing in my temples disagrees.
I have late stage Lyme disease. It sounds scary, late stage, and it is. And last night was the scariest night of them all. After yesterday’s cocktail of drugs, I went through the worst Herxheimer reaction I’ve experienced so far. A Herxheimer reaction resembles bacterial sepsis and usually occurs within a few hours of taking antibiotics. It works this way: antibiotics attack the bacteria, bacteria dies and releases endotoxins, the body cannot detox and remove them as fast as they accumulate, and it gets overwhelmed with inflammation. The bastards are dying in agony but want to take you with them.
I spent the small hours of the night violently throwing up, shaking uncontrollably, gasping for air, shivering and sweating, feeling my brain swelling inside my skull and my body hurting in places I never thought could hurt. I’m not going to eat sweet potatoes for a long time. And this is about the only sad thing in my story. The rest is a beautiful victory and I’m going to tell you why.
Last night was the first major battle in my war on Lyme and I won. I killed a lot of spiral shaped bugs. My body proved to be strong and loyal. And I learned new things:
3 minute meditation can change the course of any battle.
Giving into the pain and letting the body do what it needs to do is how you cope and survive.
William doesn’t mind watching me throw up.
The worst type of hangover is the antibiotic one.
As I type this William is pouring the coconut milk batter into our old frying pan and the smell is what dreams are made of. Pancakes. This alone is worth all of my Friday night horrors. A glass and a cup are patiently waiting on the bedside table next to me. Kefir and Matcha – orange juice and coffee for Lymies. Now I’m going to close the laptop and enjoy my breakfast for champions. Then I will slowly get up, do my morning meditation and set off to clean the toilet of any evidence. And on Monday I’m going to go to work and you won’t even suspect that two days ago I’ve murdered hundreds of the little bastards living inside me.
And so it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut once wrote.