I could feel my heart beat, every single pound in my chest as I bolted up from my bed away from the dream. Anger boiled and churned within my system. How dare! How dare my mind taunt me with such a vision of settling calm, love and beauty!
The faceless man in front of the stone fireplace in the dream was tall and lean, emanating a strong sense of protective, unconditional love. Myself, I was staring out a large window at a massive body of peaceful, aqua blue water. For this vision to become a reality was impossible to conceive.
In 2008 I had become familiar with six years of a violent mysterious illness, robbing me of a life of luxury and success as a NY handbag designer and amateur body builder. I was misdiagnosed all those years and during that time I lost my career, my fiancé, my finances, my home, relationships and my remaining living relative, my mother. This transformation could not have been any more cruel. The only man I did have in my life walked out and left me with the feeling of, who would ever want someone in my condition. How dare this dream so vivid show up on the doorstep of my mind!
It wasn’t until 2014, while sitting in the office of my newly self appointed doctor did I get the name of the thief that stole my life. He said, “ I think you have Lyme Disease.” My mind surged with perplexity. “What’s that?” I replied. Three weeks later I got my answer. Yes, that was the name of the thief. This life threatening disease, if not treated early, spreads through the body, burrows into organs and creates detrimental neurological problems, joint and muscle deterioration, endocrine dysfunction, heart and circulation issues, auto immune dysfunction, etc. A living symptomology HELL. My doctor leaned over me and said, “I’m so sorry I don’t know what to do with you.” I sat still in my chair, with no strength to move. My shaky hands covered my face. My mind was screaming, “God, how is it you see this suffering and choose to make it all worse!” As the tears spilled down my face I heard a reply. The words my mother used to say echoing through my head, “You have a million chances to give up, so why do it today?” As sick, and drained of everything that I was, I thought she had to be right. This life, this struggle cannot be for nothing. I needed to find a way to survive this.
Every ounce of energy I had left went into research. Where to go, what to do, for this critical sickness showed no sign of shifting. Through the process I could hear my mother’s voice, ‘You’re OK”, repeating like a broken record. The inquiring, planning, prepping for five long months, time had come! I was going to a clinic in the USA that could potentially help! A small seed of hope began to sprout from this long and terrifying journey.
Two weeks before clinic departure, the phone rang. It was my new friend, a sales rep for one of the medications I was taking. I felt like every fiber in my being was vibrating with anticipation. “Seth! I am going to a clinic!” An unnatural silence filled the air. “ You have Lyme? Why are you going there, you need to be going to this clinic in Nevada. I will call them and tell them to get you in.”
In May of 2014 when I walked through the Lyme clinic doors, I could feel hope, of my body writhing free from the disease. At the same time I felt intense fear from the nagging feeling of my body ready to shut down entirely. I had traveled 3000 miles across country from Canada to the USA on a series of circumstances that lead me to this particular clinic. A five year disability tribunal finally released money to get the costly treatment. The daughter of a family who took me in one week before I lost my own home, traveled to the clinic with me but could only stay two weeks. I was terrified, as this treatment is brutally intense, I was in critical condition and was advised treatment cannot be done without a caregiver.
Out of desperation, I reached out to a lady who used to take care of my house in NY; who I had not spoken with in six years. Jeanette’s simple reply after all this time was, “Of course my darling, I will be right there.” I was relieved and astounded at the same time however, she could only stay two weeks. As her departure time grew close, a paralyzing fear spread through my body like icy, liquid metal because the clinic staff were right, you can’t do this alone. Jeanette always had a soothing demeanor, like a lullaby and was always in prayer. She kept insisting, “ Don’t worry, someone is going to come along.” Just like the dream, those words seemed insane, cruel and taunting from such an angelic lady. For the next few days I kept looking at the people with spouses, friends, caregivers, wondering, how am I going to do this?
Two days before Jeanette’s departure, I routinely got up with IV bag in tow on my way to the patient kitchen. This tall, lean man, I had never seen before, came hastily around the corner, holding his IV pole like it was the stick shift of a race car. Bam! Our IV poles collided, mine on the verge of toppling over, potentially yanking out my needle! Once I gained composure of my pole and myself, all I could do was stare blankly at him. A wide smile spread across his face like he just won a race. Some feeling within nudged me to introduce myself. I held out my free hand, “Hi, I’m Ana.” It wasn’t what he replied, for it was an ordinary introduction, “Hi, I’m Greg.” It was the richness of his silky tones as he kept speaking, luxurious and warm. That was the beginning of the reality of the dream.
Greg stayed with me through five grueling months of treatment. A stranger who became a friend who then proposed to me! A kind, loving man who opened up his heart and arms, who saw me for who I am, not the disease that is there. A year later, he came to Canada and got me. We traveled by car, 3000 miles across country to Lake Tahoe, Nevada to be married and continue treatment. When I walked into our rental condo for the first time, I saw that fireplace in the dream. I looked out the bedroom window at the calm blue waters of Lake Tahoe. I turned to the man who now had a face and said, “You always have a million chances to give up, don’t you. So why do it today?” He replied, “A little mustard seed of faith goes along way. NEVER drop your mustard seed.” Am I Lyme free, no. Am I symptom free, no. Am I hopeful and believing, YES!
In loving memory of Pamela Joy Perry.
(© 2016 Anastiscia Chantler-Lang – All rights reserved. Written material may not be duplicated without permission.)