Friday, July 15, 2011

nostalgic


A lot of us "Lymies" used to be very athletic.  A healthy weight and the kind of people who told the doctor at an annual check-up that we exercised a few times a week at the least.  Good hikers.....in fact, so good that we became ill by it.  Because of that itty-bitty insect called a tick that likes to camp out on a long (or short) piece of brush and climb on to a warm body that passes by.

I know that's not how all people who have Lyme got it.  But it's how I got it.  Hiking...camping...in the most beautiful place in the world (to me).  In the Sierra Nevadas....more specifically in Sequoia National Park.  High high up where the giant Sequoia trees grow and the forests are lush with green.  I was camping there before I was even born!!!
I believe this was the year I was bitten by THE tick.  I probably even got it in this meadow. It's crazy to think about now!

And between then and now (nearly 30 years), I have been camping there just about every year (I think I've missed the "annual trip" three times at the most).  It's lovely there and our family hasn't had to even think twice whether we'd meet up there again the next year.  We've now brought our children there and now our parents are grandparents there.




This is the place that condemned me to the state I am today.  A tick bite from one of those many camping trips is what gave me Advanced Lyme and it's co-infections.

It's strange, it's the first year since being diagnosed that I haven't been able to go.  We usually make the cross-country trip to meet up with family there but this summer I am too ill.   Last year we went on our yearly family camping trip there 3 days before I was diagnosed with Lyme.  I  knew I was probably going to be sealed with that fate of a diagnosis so I was even more aware that year of the GREEN;  the FOLIAGE; the MEADOW; and the DEER.


They stuck out to me like a highlighted paragraph on a page.  When I looked at them I just thought, "Check yourself and the babies for ticks."  If Georgie walked through our campsite (which was pretty much only dirt and rocks) and passed by a lone frond growing near our campsite, it took all that was within me to not run over scoop her up before her little leg could brush against the grass.  I was a little compulsive about it.

We went on a long, 14 mile overnight hike last year.  It was the last hike I would take for quite some time and for the foreseeable future.  This was backwoods hiking; not a real trail to follow.  It took a lot for me to do it.

I don't think I told anyone (well, maybe my husband), but I was frightened and had to pray and calm myself down the entire hike.  The first hour of the hike if I felt any sort of tickle on my leg or arm I'd slap off or brush it forcefully.  Usually it was nothing.  I kept mentioning to our little troupe (brothers and sisters) to "check for ticks".

Look at where we had to set up our overnight tent! The MIDDLE of a meadow!!!  Imagine my fright.

And in this picture we are sitting on gathered foliage to pad our seat.  I remember being so afraid to sit and relax after a long day of hiking because I felt that a tick could be crawling up my clothes at any minute.  Matt helped me calm down.


And NOW -- now that I am in the throes of the ugliness of what the disease can really do to you, all we have to do is drive BY a greenbelt and I think, "Evil ticks", see a deer and think, "Mean deer", hear someone mention hiking and think, "Make sure to wear light colored clothing".  I have been a bit obsessed.

But wouldn't anyone be who has been hurt by something that was preventable?  Now, what I saw happening to myself was my fear becoming large and overwhelming.  To the point where I was frightened to even THINK about camping or hiking because I just couldn't imagine how I'd be able to keep track of everyone in tick areas or if I'd even be able to SPOT a tick on my own kids and husband.

But like I do with all my fears, I walk into them, trusting I've got someone looking out and caring for me.  I know fears are partially irrational.  I've learned to combat fear, you need to speak the truth to yourself (or let someone else speak it to you).  I told myself that MANY people safely hike and camp and that for all those years we've been camping, I am the only one in my extended family who has gotten a tick bite (visibly).  I am the only one ill from it.  God spared the rest of my family.  And I know He is in charge of how things turn out.  I told myself you can easily be vigilant about ticks, use the right bug repellant, wear the right clothes, do thorough "tick checks".

What has happened to a seemingly overwhelming fear has turned into something I'm now a master over. I actually look FORWARD to the day I am physically able to start hiking again and the next time we can go camping.  I know a lot more now about tick awareness and I just LONG to be back in those beautiful woods and meadows.  The beauty of enjoying God's creation now overpowers my fear of ticks.



Conquered the mountain!

The Great Divide.....stunning.

But, this doesn't mean I don't still drive by a greenbelt and say, "evil ticks!" or see a deer and say, "mean deer!" but I think in all bad situations it's nice to have the thing that made you sick (a tick) to teasingly curse at.

4 comments:

  1. Lovely! Maybe one day we can even go on a hike together :) How cool would that be??!

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  2. You looked so much like Georgie as a girl. I always thought she looked like Matt, but she takes after her mom! I hope you get to go hiking again soon. God's creation is beautiful!

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  3. Matt and I just looked at the pics again and we totally agree, Victoria!

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