Last week I received my oldest son’s laboratory results. We knew this was an insurmountable obstacle we would have to one day face, not knowing how long I have had Lyme Disease and coinfections for…. having EACH OF OUR EIGHT CHILDREN tested for Lyme Disease (and coinfections) through IGeneX. At $1,000 a lab test. Additionally, testing our OLDEST FIVE CHILDREN for mycotoxin toxicity, especially gliotoxins, from a previous moldy home we lived in. At another $800 per lab for that test. Raising eight children in today’s world is NOT EASY no matter how you slice it… but looking at $20K worth of JUST LABS (not even considering the high cost for antibiotic treatment for a disease most doctors don’t even believe exists)… not to mention that most Lyme doctors are cash-only (to keep from being shut down by insurance companies and other doctors affiliated with IDSA who believe Lyme to be perfectly treatable and cured with 7-14 days of antibiotic therapy).
However, when our oldest son started exhibiting classic symptoms of Lyme Disease this past winter while in fifth grade – – we knew we had to step up our game and get him in right away. Somehow, deep down inside I knew what the results would be. However, my mama heart still held out hope that I had not transmitted this horrific disease to any of my children. You see, I have NEVER pulled a tick off of any of my kids. None of my children have ever had a classic bullseye or EM rash. Sure – – they’ve had plenty of mosquito bites over the years (being born and raised in either Ohio or Minnesota), and I do know that mosquitoes can transmit Lyme and other vector borne illnesses.
However, there was no nothing I could do to prepare myself for the heart-wrenching sadness I felt after opening his labs. I died a thousand deaths all over again; however, this time it was far harder and far worse than the day I received my own lab results.
You see, the more I live this thing called life, the more I realize that I can’t save my kids. I can’t save them from getting hit by a car when crossing the street. I couldn’t even save them in utero… in my womb… the most sacred of safe spaces… from contracting a bacterial illness across the placenta line. I can’t save them from getting bad grades if they don’t work hard. I can’t save them from injuries on sports fields. I can’t save them from inevitable broken hearts during their dating and courting years.
This disease has made me ever so aware again… by bringing me to my knees in COMPLETE humility… that we serve a God who is in control. Despite having always lived a life of constantly choosing the right portion and trying to be healthy – – contracting Lymes was something I could not control. I truly believe I was bitten either in my childhood or in high school, and that this disease lay dormant in my body for YEARS, decades even. Something changed in my body hormonally with marriage and childbirth that brought it out. I have spent the last 15 years suffering and struggling in a constant sea of up-and-down waves and mysterious “phantom” symptoms nobody ever really got to the root cause of. Until our eighth son was born last summer, and I became DEBILITATINGLY sick. However, remember that Lymes is an “INVISIBLE DISEASE” when viewed through the eyes of both the world and the medical community at large.
In knowing that AT LEAST one of our eight children has Lyme Disease (and a very high probability of having contracted it from me in utero), I have had to AGAIN surrender. Surrender the pain. Surrender the anger. Surrender the questioning that if I would’ve never been “open to life” and bringing him into this world, then he might not have to face the things in his life that I have faced. The pain… the pain that hurts SO BAD some days you just want to die so that there’s an end to it. The judgement. The isolation. The feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness… being a shell of a human being. Parenting from bed. Watching your life from the sidelines. These are things NO ONE should have to face in a lifetime, not me and most DEFINITELY not any of my babies.
When we thought or eighth child, Jeremiah, would be born with Down Syndrome last year in 2016… it brought me to a place of poverty on my knees that I had never known before. A place of complete surrender in knowing that God knows so much more than I do. A place of complete trust like I had never known before in my life. Knowing that I would truly have to walk the walk and not just talk the talk I so eloquently preach. Knowing that God’s plan is ALWAYS right and is ALWAYS perfect but is NEVER guaranteed to be easy. I knew deeper than I had ever known anything in my entire life that we serve a God who doesn’t make mistakes and that my eighth baby would be perfect – – no matter how he was born. He was named Jeremiah after Jeremiah 29:11 and 1:5.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you AND NOT TO HARM YOU. Plans for hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5
I now must face that SAME ABANDON in parenting my oldest son we now know has Lymes. I must be stronger than I ever thought it was possible to be. I will not know until I return to visit to our LLMD in several weeks WHAT his course of treatment will look like. I can only pray that it will be easier than mine since the bacteria has not yet crossed the blood brain barrier and into his central or peripheral nervous systems. He doesn’t have any neurological incapacities or peripheral neuropathy at this point in time… which is EXACTLY why we chose to begin testing our kids sooner than later.
Fortunately, I trust my LLMD whole-heartedly and know that even if the course is hard that she is doing what is best for him. I continue to thank and praise God for bringing this awareness to our eyes before my son hit a point in his life where he was struggling and unable to do things that normal kids do. So many Lyme patients, myself included, struggle and suffer with watching their life from the sidelines. I am so thankful that hopefully this will not be the case for my son. God has BIG PLANS for this kid’s life — despite my own feelings of guilt and inadequacy for possibly transmitting something I had NO KNOWKEDGE OF and absolutely NO CONTROL OVER. Again — surrender.
Lord Jesus, when we answer your call to say yes, we fully surrender it all. When we take up our cross and follow you, we cannot question the sometimes rough parts that we must navigate through in our lives. Lord, help us to understand when we go through rough waters that there are calm waters ahead and vice-versa in preparing for rough waters that will inevitably come when life seems calm and balanced. Amen.