Guys & Dolls ….oh, and Lyme

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A few days ago, a young man came to the house selling a pest control contract; he noticed the many “Fight for Lyme Education,” “Fight for a Lyme Cure,” etc, signs that are around the house.  When he knocked on the door, I opened it, inviting him in as my parents were busy and unable to hear his pitch right that moment.  We sat down and he immediately began to ask me about Lyme disease, mentioning that he met a lot of clients with Lyme disease in his business.  tumblr_lwen7mFMML1r7qsomo1_500
 
His questions were direct, thoughtful and personal as he asked about my story. 
 
He mentioned that he had gotten a tick bite a few months back and asked how he would know if he had Lyme, since the test he took at his Doctor’s had come back negative (I kept back a laugh).  I started down a list of symptoms he could experience and as I questioned him, he suddenly stopped me and asked if I had gone through all of these symptoms. 
 
This DID prompt a laugh as I mentioned again that my story stretched over thirteen years and the symptoms were too numerous to explain.  His eyes never left my face as he asked, first gently inquiring if he was being too personal, how intense the pain could get for someone with chronic Lyme disease; his clients, he explained, were mostly those who had recently been bitten and did not want to repeat the experience as they went through the basic antibiotic protocol. 
  As I responded to his questions, explaining only what I felt comfortable sharing but giving him as much information as I could, a thought started to build in my mind. 
 
This young man now knew about my chronic Lyme disease and some of the symptoms and pain levels that followed me throughout the day.  He was a salesman (meaning it was his job to show interest and draw a client in so they would sign up for his particular product), and when  my parents came into the room and took over the conversation, I silently moved into the background. 
 
Building and growing stronger, the budding thought took shape: how much easier would it be to date someone who, like this young man, already knew about my chronic disease?  My dating life has gone through the painful experience of a first date that, instead of being romantic and special as you imagine, was taken up with my explanations of my disease and the limitations it would place on a relationship. 
 
  If someone already knew all this, would it be easier to date? Going out on a first date would be about us, as a couple, instead of my disease, and the following dates would be much easier to plan as the young man would already know about the fatigue, intense pain, and mental fog that wraps around my day. 
 
I have dated someone who did not know about or understand this disease, and I attempted explanations as we went along…I’m sure I could have done a MUCH better job, but having to explain the extreme fatigue/pain/fogginess/near-migraines, etc, I was feeling to such a wonderful young man who just wanted to take me out and share the places he had found that he thought would be special for a couples’ outing, or beautiful landscapes on the beach or a nearby park for the two of us to enjoy was SO HARD. 
 
It was even harder knowing that I was making him suffer although he most likely did not realize it.  The realization that my illness was holding him back from what he could truly experience and accomplish in life was intensely painful.
 
  Would it be easier to date someone who already has the questions answered, who knows the disease and understands its effects on those suffering from it?
 
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Guys and Dolls are one thing…

Guys and Dolls and Lyme are quite another.

 

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