Prepare to be disgusted.
I had a disturbing dream last night.
I had... lice. Yes, okay, I said lice. (Cue the shudders and groans.)
Jack came home from school with lice last year and it still creeps me out! I have a lot of hair and the thought of it being overtaken by a blood-sucking parasite has haunted me since then.
As the bugs fell from my hair into the sink, they grew to be about the size of rats! I grabbed the closest thing to me, a spray bottle of something. As I sprayed each one, it got smaller and eventually disappeared, but there seemed to be no end to them. It felt like I was at the centre of some perpetual twisted carnival game akin to whack-a-mole... spritz-a-louse.
Jack woke me up just then, crying because his throat was sore from a terrible cough. I felt bad for him - I had that pit in the stomach a parent gets when their child is in pain coupled with the understanding that I would be next and that whatever plans I had for the next few days would have to be changed - while at the same time I was grateful to be done with the lice. Mercifully, I had no time to ponder the dream, immersing myself in his care.
Yet hours later the dream returned to me. I wondered what Freud would think of it! Then it dawned on me, and I knew what my fellow "Lymies" would say. (Remind me to come up with a better name for those dealing with Lyme Disease. To be discussed...) Clearly the external parasites of my dream are a symbol of the internal parasites of my reality.
When people ask me about Lyme Disease - if I will be well again - I tell them what I know, which is little. I know that treatment will be difficult at times, that I will likely feel worse before I feel better as the parasites (Borrelia Burgdorferi and his friends) launch counter-attacks, and that with luck the parasites will all but disappear. I say it that way, because I imagine that they are now a permanent part of who I am, since I have likely had them for roughly three decades. It may be impossible to completely eradicate them, and perhaps this is not the best way to envisage the healing process, in any case.
I am torn at times between feeling like I am in a fight for my life, and recognizing that parasites are a very real and necessary part of life. (Witness this recent reflection of my inner turmoil!) For now, I am treating the parasites - they at least need to be managed, if not destroyed - and improving the host by such therapeutic means as yoga, meditation, journalling and so on.
The dream was a bit of an epiphany in a way. It helped me to realize that fighting this thing called Lyme Disease is probably futile. Better, perhaps, to think of achieving a mutually beneficial symbiosis with the organisms that now call me home.
Still... I don't know about you, but I can't stop itching!
Until next time,
"With every rising of the sun think of your life as just begun."
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox