Friday, April 29, 2011

How this all began...

I joked with my family that I felt like the warranty on my body must have expired on my 30th birthday because everything was starting to fall apart. I had experiences strange medical occurrences for years, but it was that 30th year that I found out that I have been living with Chronic Lyme Disease for most of my life.  My mother has Lyme Disease, so I had seen the struggles that may lie ahead for me.  Joint pain, crushing fatigue, smashing headaches, numbness, tingling, dizziness, confusion and memory loss only top the list of symptoms.  I myself was a young mother, and I wondered how I was going to manage through all of that!  I came to realize that these were the struggles I had been battling for years, it only finally had a name, a cause that I could pursue antibiotic treatment for.  It was, and still is, a long road of challenges and struggles.  Sometimes I have to accept what I cannot do.  I have friends as I write this who are in wheelchairs, bound by the Disease, friends who have died from complications.  I’ve seen families struggle with the implications that it can have.

For a variety of reasons, some medical, some psychological, and some physical, I became very overweight over my adult years.  I had been a model for about 10 years, off and on, through my teens and early twenties.  I was the girl that could eat ANYTHING and not gain weight.  (Was.)  The weight was something that made me feel even worse, but I didn’t feel like I had the power to do anything, it all seems too daunting to even begin.

My 31st year was a year or trials and triumphs.  I had left a bad relationship, and felt my confidence and determination swell as I managed single motherhood on my own, fighting through life for both of us.  It was a year of economic challenges, deep introspection, humility (I had to accept help that I would never have considered asking for before), and most of all, a year of growth.  My confidence surged back to me with every good decision and triumphant outcome.  I’ve had success in business for years, but putting myself first has always been a challenge for me, even before I became a ‘Mom’.

On my 32nd birthday, I was driving, mulling over everything that I’ve just shared here with you, how much I’ve overcome and fought through.  It’s been a big year, I thought.  So, what do I want from my 32nd year?  I had an epiphany… I wanted to lose weight!  I wanted my skinny jeans back!  And, you know what, I didn’t want to wait another second to start!  My gym bag was probably dusty in the trunk it had been so long since I had been (obviously procrastinating, or it would never have been in the trunk to begin with).  It was a huge turning point, mentally.  From that moment, I pointed my car in the direction of the Laconia Athletic and Swim Club, with a new mindset.  I wasn’t going there to punish myself.  I was going to heal myself, from all the abuse and damage that I had ignored and inflicted.  This would feel GOOD, I decided.  Every time I would go, I would emerge stronger, with more will power, and more confidence.  The more I went, the stronger I got. 

My family and friends have been a tremendous support, from day one.  I made this decision that no one, including myself, saw coming, and it was non-negotiable, I never looked back.  It’s actually a surprisingly wonderful feeling as a parent to see the pride in my young son’s eyes that his Mom is pursuing a goal, and achieving every step of it.  (We even flex our arms and compare our muscles, so we can see how strong we’re both getting, both squeezing our biceps and giggling.)  High school and college friends, other parents at my son’s school, colleagues, and other Lyme Disease sufferers (and champions!) follow and cheer me on with every post on Facebook.  I have the best support system I could ever ask for… which brings me to Laconia Athletic and Swim Club! 

I mentioned that all this started on my birthday.  I went in, swiped my tag, and heard “Happy Birthday!”  Indeed, it would be, I said.  I shared my epiphany with the woman at the desk, and she gave me my first words of encouragement.  “Good for you, you can do this.”  Since then, I’ve been to LASC nearly every day.  Smiling faces that are always there to greet you, and make it seems far less like work.  Like I said, this is a place of healing for me, and the trainers and staff feel like friends.  Not every day has been easy, but every day has absolutely been fun.  The trainers set my feet at the path, and off I went!

I thought back to August of 2010 one day during some cardio work.  As a part of Lyme 411, the local Lyme Disease support group, we had volunteered at the “swim out aid station” station at the Timberman Triathlon at Ellacoya.  It was profound.  While it was great to see and cheer on the athletes who made it by first, it was the last groups that were the most moving.  Some weren’t even athletic by any stretch, and you could see the struggle in their pained faces!  “Wow” I thought, “this must really MEAN something to them.”  As I thought about it, I realized that my journey wasn’t unlike what imagined theirs might be.  A few weeks after initially considering the Triathlon, I registered.  It was a huge leap of faith.  I remember finishing my registration, feeling both butterflies and nervousness as learned back from the computer and then laughed, realizing… Oh!  I’m going to need a bike!

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't be more proud of you and all that do, Angela!! Just ATTEMPTING this feat is more than I would've ever thought. Two years ago you were having seizures, massive headaches & all sorts of other issues due to the Chronic Lyme Disease and co-infections. Who would have thought you would be where you are today?! I thank God for your TEAM of Lyme Doctors who hav ehelped make this possible!
    Juggling this with all of the rest of what I KNOW that you nothing short of AMAZING! You have always been such an achiever/leader. I am sure you will meet your goals with this feat as well. I support you in ALL your efforts...and will do all I can to assist you. I love you!!
    ~VERY Proud Mom~