Getting Off The Hamster Wheel

Not too long ago, I realized that treating chronic Lyme disease is like being in a hamster wheel.

Go, go, go! You race to the next Lyme disease treatment. Faster, faster, faster!

You stop, and gasp for air. Boy, that last one really hit your body-and your pocketbook good, didn’t it?

You put your paws to the rungs and keep going. Around and around…until after awhile, a quiet voice whispers, “When will you ever get off this thing?”

You stop. Are you really getting any better from all these treatments? I mean, you do feel better from all that running, don’t you? Yes, but…

But what?

You wonder if you will ever get off the wheel. Every new treatment promises to get you “there” but are you really going anywhere?

That depends on how you view healing from Lyme disease.

If you are new to this game, then you must know that this disease is like no other. The pathogens are reticent to leave the house that is our body, and most of the time, we chronic Lyme sufferers never seem to know for how long they will stay, or how many will stick around. So will we have them as our companions, ’til death do we part?

We may attain remission from symptoms, but the critters may yet be lurking in our organs and tissues, awaiting an immune crisis before notifying us that indeed, they have been faithful to stick around.

Or we may become “functional” again (however you want to define that gray term), but not return to our former level of well-being, due to the continued presence of pathogens or the damage that they have done to our bodies.

And because of their tenacity, we stay in the wheel, with the hope that we can one day be certain that our guests are gone. We treat and keep on treating because the road to a cure is endless. And like the frustrated rodent, we become ever more passionate in our pursuit of the next rung–until the wheel overtakes us and we flop forwards in exhaustion.

The fact is, many of us will treat this thing for the rest of our lives, expending endless amounts of time, money and energy, just to maintain a functional life.

We’ll continue to run for the next treatment, until we’re forced to pause and rest just long enough to realize that we’re still not “there.”

But again, here is where we must ask ourselves, where is “there”? And what does it mean to heal, or to just get off the darned wheel?

If it’s true that a few bugs may remain within us for a lifetime-(loyal foes that they are), then perhaps we can get off the wheel by simply accepting that health means maintaining functionality, and not a total absence of symptoms. Or perhaps we can get off at the next hamster stop by ceasing to worry and fret over what we should be doing next to treat the bugs. Maybe we need to stop treatments altogether, or realize that, while it’s good to treat the elusive, it’s not always beneficial to spend the bulk of a lifetime pursuing the next wonderful treatment, or fighting until the bugs are totally eradicated.

Some of us may be blessed enough to attain an absence of symptoms. But the rest of us will have to watch out for an obsession with our little round toy, that keeps us forever running…