Posted on Jul 27, 2010 in Blog |

When we moved into this house 19 years ago, I was ecstatic to have an area between my bedroom and bath to put on make up.  I had my very own vanity area, with a countertop, a chair, and a niche.  I loved it.  I put up my favorite artwork on the two walls.  I used it every day.

Then I got Lyme.

This past Christmas, I asked Jeff to purchase a stackable washer and dryer for the upstairs.

“Where are we going to put it?” he queried.

“We can take out my vanity and put it right next to the bathroom,” I replied.  Jeff gave me a puzzled, almost incredulous look.

“You mean, you are willing to give up your vanity area just to be able to do the laundry upstairs?” he asked.

“Yep,” I replied.

A few weeks later, I had a functioning stackable washer and dryer area that I try to use on a daily basis.

When I got the Lyme diagnosis, my physician had a long talk with me about needing to reprioritize my life, learning to do without, learning to have some things to do that were non-negotiable.  I thought I knew what he meant.  Giving up my vanity for the washer and dryer wasn’t so bad.

Though raised primarily in northern Virginia, I was raised in a southern tradition by southern parents.  Girls never went out without their hair nicely done and make up properly applied.  I wasn’t the best Southern girl, but going out in public without my makeup was rare, like 3 times a year.

In June, I noticed it was taking me long and longer to get ready for work in the morning.  In my teen-age years, it would take an hour to primp and prepare, plus those 27 minute showers that Dad timed on us.

Becoming a mother shrunk my prep time to under 20 minutes to shower, do the make up, dry the hair.  It made me wonder how I spent the other 40 minutes when I was younger.  I’m still not sure.

In June, just getting out of bed took a good 20 minutes to loosen my joints and get everything moving in a forward motion.  I still hang onto my handicapped rail in the shower to make sure I don’t get clutzy.  Everything just takes longer.  And now it’s back to an hour.

In a moment of frustration, exhaustion, and depression, I decided to cut 20 minutes off my time by not applying my make-up.  It was a day that no clients were due at the office; essentially, no one would “see” me.  I work with all women. I knew I wouldn’t get any judgement from them.  I was “safe” for the day.

The next day, I was just as tired, no expected clients.  Another day without make up.

Day 3, two people unexpectedly showed up for a visit; both mentioned my lack of make-up.  No criticism, but they knew it wasn’t my normal status.  I quipped, “It’s make up or sleep.  I’m choosing sleep these days.”  They both chuckled.

Day 4, a man showed up.  Wisely, he didn’t say anything.

Every morning, I dread the fact that I am going to skip this step.  But when I seriously consider putting it on, I overrule myself, remembering the amount of energy I have been allotted each morning.  It’s a choice between putting on make up or eating breakfast.  I choose breakfast.

Since my Lyme diagnosis, I drink a green smoothie, comprised of kale, a carrot, mango, banana, cherries, and pineapple.  I never thought I would do this either. But it makes me feel better and it supposedly helps to reduce inflammation in my body.  I used to be a cereal gal, or an occasional egg.  Now, if I eat these things, my body just doesn’t feel ‘right.’  I literally crave the daily green smoothie.

I have also given up most of my shoes; now down to just a couple.  My peripheral neuropathy is still significant enough that I must wear sneakers, or I will trip, slip, or turn my ankle in any of my pretty shoes.  I don’t like wearing sneakers all the time, but they are the safest choice for me.

This disease has forced me to give up more than just my vanity.  Some of these choices are temporary, and some may be permanent.  But I find that each time I give something up, it’s actually not necessarily a sacrifice.  It’s a choice.  It’s a decision to do something differently.  It’s a choice to act in a positive way, in a healing way.

So I gave up my vanity.  I gave up my make up.  I gave up my cereal and my shoes.  And it’s ok.

It’s the price of healing.

Another friend notified me today that she was diagnosed with Lyme.  I don’t wish this disease on anyone; but I am relieved that another individual finally has the right diagnosis.  She had originally been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis but her treatment had not been working and her health was continuing to decline.  Now, she can begin her journey to healing.