Frustration swelled inside of me as I frantically searched for my mother’s car keys.
I had borrowed her car earlier that day and once again misplaced her keys after coming back to the house. I clenched my eyes shut, as I desperately attempted to retrace my steps since returning back to my house from another doctor’s appointment. It was as though my brain had filled with smoke, my thoughts lost inside, unable to be organized or sorted through. “Sweetheart, don’t worry about it. I’ll use my spare set.” My mother attempted to relieve my discouragement, as forgetfulness and brain fog was no longer a rare occurrence for me.
“Why don’t you go to bed early, tomorrow is a new day.”
For many months now, I had placed hope in a “new day.” Each night I laid my head on the pillow and prayed I would wake up free of headaches, joint pain, blurred vision, and dizziness. I prayed that my hair would stop falling out, that I would not be so forgetful, and that I would have the energy to spend time with friends. I looked at the reassuring and empathetic smile on my mother’s face, but knew deep down she had become exhausted. Though she successfully concealed her weariness, I was fully aware that any mother who spent months bringing her child from medical specialist to specialist, fighting doctors for further blood tests and answers, had to be exhausted.
The budding flowers and flourishing greenery in upstate New York during the spring seemed dichotomous to the hopeless and mysterious illness that plagued my 17 year-old body. Finally, one rainy morning in late April marked the first time I could no longer last a full day in school. After collapsing from a dizzy spell, I was forced to miss afternoon classes in order to visit the emergency room. Once again, the doctor found no results as to why I was so ill. After giving me a few hours worth of IV fluid and running blood tests that showed only equivocal results, he merely responded, “You probably just have a virus, and hopefully a few good nights of sleep will fix it.” Again, I laid my head on the pillow that night, hoping a “new day” would bring healing.
Thirteen hours of sleep later I woke to the exact opposite that I had hoped for. An aching exhaustion pushed me to conclude I could no longer withstand living in what felt like the body of a 90-year-old woman. I thought of my sweet parents, so heart-broken and spent from watching their daughter’s health deteriorate for over 14 months now. The battle of fighting judgment from peers at school who assumed either I had an eating disorder or that I was faking the pain had been too long-fought. I rolled out of bed, knelt on the floor, and boldly declared my ultimatum to the Lord: “God, I can’t take this anymore. I hate the body that I live in. I don’t understand, Lord, why you are allowing this. I pray that you will take me out of my earthly body and allow me to come home to you, or heal me. And God, if you heal me, I promise to commit and surrender my every decision from that moment forward to your will.”
Following this prayer, I surprisingly felt no fear or anxiety, but rather a tremendous amount of peace.
I opened the Bible on my nightstand and thumbed through the pages until a chapter in Ecclesiastes caught my eye, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” This verse confirmed in my heart that the Lord was allowing me to be in this season for a reason, and that my role as his servant was to patiently wait in faithful submission.
Two weeks after praying this life-changing prayer, my mother took me to a Lyme Disease Specialist as a last resort after a friend told her she thought my symptoms mimicked those of Lyme Disease. Though I had received negative Lyme test results from my pediatrician, the specialist claimed these generic tests were not always accurate and sent my blood to a lab in California for more thorough testing. Sure enough, the test came back positive for Lyme and also showed positive for another tick-borne infection called Babesia.
Babesia mimics malarial-type symptoms, and Lyme Disease is said to have a “Harvard Degree” of bacterial infections, making it incredibly difficult to diagnose and treat. Though I never found the tick that plagued a year and a half of my life, he left behind a “super bug” that my specialist said would take three years of antibiotics to cure.
By the grace of God, the advocacy of my parents, and the aggressive medical regimen from my doctor, the “super bug” left my body after five months of treatment. Because of the side effects from the illness, I had been forced to quit my volleyball and softball varsity teams, and was too frail after treatment to play my senior year. I held up my commitment I had promised to the Lord that I would commit every decision to him if he healed me, and committed all my free time to service projects and evangelism.
The bug that almost took my physical life ended up providing me with an eternal perspective and dedication to the Lord’s will that I had never experienced before.