My entire life I've been judged unfairly, mostly due to my small frame. People have countless times assumed I starve myself...All in a glance. Little do these people know behind the smile lies a person who has been through a world of pain, & continues to struggle daily. I worry every day about eating enough food to maintain my weight because unlike so many opinions I do not have an eating disorder, but an extremely high metabolism. A metabolism that is a curse for me because it lies between me & a hospital bed with a feeding tube. Lyme disease is so often called the "invisible imitator" due to its difficulty to diagnose and the fact you can't actually see any affects of it on the body. Cancer patients have scars, maybe hair loss that tells their story. Those in wheel cheers are handicapped & already have a pass at being judged because it's obvious they are ill. But me? I put on some makeup to cover my dark circles from the insomnia, I fix my hair, put on a nice outfit & voila it's like I'm 'normal.'
Looking normal has been difficult because while I was in so much pain inside, countless doctors told me I'm being dramatic. One doctor who was supposed to do rehab on me walked in & said "I was expecting someone who looks sick, you look fine I can't treat you. You're smiling & laughing, you look fine." Talk about a slap in the face. Would it be better if I got a wheelchair and a bad attitude? Would that have made doctors take a second look? When I found my doctor today who discovered I had Lyme I realized exactly how he diagnosed me. He did it without judgement. Dr. Bernui is a man of God who has a gentle calming way about him that eased me from the moment he walked in the room. At the end of my first visit he asked if he could pray for me, cupped my hands & said a prayer to the Lord to heal me. In that moment I realized I met a man who looked at me as a whole & did not judge my outward "healthy" appearance. This is why I'm here today alive & fighting.
I don't really wish for anyone to see me at my lowest moments when I'm having uncontrollable symptoms and pain, crying because it's overwhelming. But at the same time I do wish everyone who cared about me got a glimpse for just a moment. The worst heartache is when people who should love you get cynical and say "Christina, you look great, you sound great, it's not THAT bad." Dagger to the heart. You should never judge a man until you've walked a mile in their shoes, so don't judge me until you've lived my day. Im allowed to smile, I'm allowed to enjoy my good moments with all my might. I'm allowed to do all those things without being plugged into some category.
I challenge everyone who wonders what this disease does to go to YouTube & search for "Lyme disease herx" to see individuals who had the courage to record what we endure when no one is watching. That's the truth, that's the raw uncensored facts. That's why this disease isn't a "quick fix." Thats why the worst question in the world to ask a Lyme patient is "when will you get better?" If I knew, I would be God, because only he knows. I've stopped setting dates for when I expect to be recovered because so far it's only ended in disappointment. Until then I will enjoy my good days to the absolute fullest & push through the bad days with the same might.