Do you have a dream that is close to your heart? A dream that you have had since you were little? A dream that you need to fulfil before you die? How would you feel if that was taken away from you? How would you feel if every hope and dream you ever had were now impossible? Welcome to my world.

My biggest dream for as long as I can remember has been to start a family. Even as a small child I would talk about having my own children. If there was anything I could do before I die, it would be to raise a family of my own. That dream is impossible now. It is one of many dreams that I have lost over the last 7 years.

When you first become sick, little things start getting taken away from you. You miss out on nights out with friends and you realise how hard it is to keep doing everything you’re doing, but you can keep going if you grit your teeth and fight through the illness that is taking over you body. I was in year 12 when I became ill. I missed a lot of social events, had to quit my job, my grades dropped and I eventually had to drop out of Chemistry because I wasn’t well enough to keep up with the workload. At the time it was hard for me, I had always been a high achiever with a huge amount of energy and the world at my feet. Despite the struggle, I managed to get into a double degree at university, and attempted to do that full time as well as a part time job. It wasn’t long before things started to slip. I had no energy to do anything else in my life. My newly legal-aged friends only wanted to go out clubbing and quickly decided that I wasn’t being a good friend if I wouldn’t go out with them. That was hard. Having people doubt your illness when you feel so sick inside is heartbreaking. Unfortunately, my health kept deteriorating and I had to quit my job. At this point my life revolved around university. I would wake up, go to uni, come home, sleep and do it all again. I had no social life, and certainly wasn’t out partying like my peers. All I wanted was to finish my degrees so that I could help people. I wanted to go overseas and combine the knowledge from my degrees to help both people in poverty and the environment. Every day, I would picture my dream and push myself to go to all my classes. Soon, that became too hard to do. Even with a lot of university aid, I still had to drop my course load and try to complete my studies in the slow and steady way. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be the case. A year and a half ago, I deferred from uni indefinitely. I have only two subjects left to complete but my body has nothing left to give. The career I have dreamed about for so long is no longer possible. Every single day, I am fighting to survive, it is no way to live.

A good day for me now consists of being able to watch a tv show on the couch. A bad day, is indescribable. It feels as though you are fighting your body to survive. The fatigue is overwhelming, it makes even your pinky finger feel like it weighs a tonne. The pain ranges from sharps stings on your skin to the feeling of someone banging on your bones with a hammer. You end up being dehydrated from the profuse sweating and inability to drink without vomiting. The most simple tasks are made almost impossible by unpredictable body shakes and jerks. This all seems horrible but it’s not the worst part. The worst part is not having your mind any more. Occasionally you can see thoughts or memories, but it is like looking at them through a thick fog. You can’t remember simple words or phrases, and anything you say comes out a jumble. All memories are lost, even those from just 5 minutes ago. Reading, writing and having a conversation are impossible tasks. Worse still, you alternate between being unable to feel anything to feeling every emotion all at once. You lose complete control over your feelings. Your entire body and mind are no longer yours. You have lost everything that matters. Healthy people don’t realise it, but they are the luckiest people alive. I would do anything to get my health back.

I have had 7 years of my life taken away from me because of Lyme Disease. I am extremely disabled, as are many others, yet the Australian Government refuses to admit it is here. Every day that they deny its existence is another day that they make people suffer. Currently treatment is hard to find and often impossible to afford. I am unable to afford to pay for treatment that could make me better, so I am stuck in a body that feels like it is dying, whilst I reminisce about dreams that I once had. The only positive thing I can do from my bed is try to raise awareness for Lyme Disease, but I need your help. Please get the word out there about Lyme Disease, you will be helping so many who are suffering.

Lyme and Loss

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Alinta McMurdo