Before I got sick, I was a young and healthy teenager. Just after celebrating my thirteenth birthday I began to experience daily headaches that eventually evolved into headaches that never went away, not even when I was sleeping. Headaches eventually turned into multiple aggressive symptoms that come with chronic Lyme disease. At this time, I had a normal social life but my main priority was my piano playing.
Having taken lessons since I was six years old, piano playing was a part of life for me. Beethoven, Bach and Mozart were dear friends of mine as I was classically trained. Every day I would practice for hours, enjoying whipping my fingers across the keys as I kept up with fast tempos and complicated pieces. However, after I began to get sick, playing began to get harder and harder.
Even so, I was still able to play for a few years and even turned to more and more complex pieces of classical music. By age fifteen I had decided to pursue a career as a classical pianist and began to work harder than ever, taking pre-college classes in music and sitting at the piano for longer periods of time. Eventually practicing began a ritual of six or more hours per day. I was well on my way towards a career in music.
Unfortunately, at the same time I was getting sicker and sicker. My problems developed to such a degree that schoolwork began to slack off as my concentration failed. Before turning sixteen I was forced to drop out of school completely due to health issues. Playing the piano began to be too difficult a task to accomplish; my hands would ache after a few minutes of playing, my back would kill me, and I would easily forget what I was playing. Memorization of pieces, previously no problem for me, became impossible. After dropping out of school I dropped out of piano lessons and my pre-college courses in music.
That was over ten years ago. I have been bedridden twice since then and have never gone back to the piano. A dream was ripped away from me. As much as it hurts, I understand that it was not my fault and was instead the fault of Lyme disease.
Now, I have new dreams. I’m currently in the pursuit of a new career and am enjoying learning fresh ideas. I’ve tried playing the piano since being forced to quit and have found it quite difficult, as my fingers no longer have the strength to play and my memory has erased most of the songs that I learned. However, as corny as it sounds, it is true that when a door closes there is a great possibility that a window will open. This window will be different…but may end up giving us more pleasure as we chase new goals. These new goals will often allow us to take care of our bodies as we fight Lyme, while also allowing us to learn innovative and exciting ventures.
What dreams has Lyme ripped away from you? Do you now have new dreams and goals in life? I encourage you to not give up hope, but hold onto the idea that new quests can be just as exciting as old ideas and dreams.