By Christiane Ruggiero
My journey with Neurologic Lyme Disease began in June of 2001 when I was on my lunch break at work and I discovered that something was terribly wrong with my left eye. Soon I found out I had optic neuritis and within 6 months I went from a strong, healthy, full time Neuro Occupational Therapist, independent woman to a woman who was completely disabled due to severe pain, limited mobility, cognitive dysfunction, and general overall declining health. It took 6 months to find an Infectious Disease Specialist that diagnosed me with Neurologic Lyme Disease and he explained to me that I was very ill and going to probably need antibiotic treatment for many years. He turned out to be right and I was on IV antibiotics for a year and a half and oral antibiotics for 5 ½ years in addition to many supportive therapies and nutritional supplements.
In 2005 I was starting to volunteer in my field and be more independent when my husband, the love of my life and my best friend, decided he could not be married to me anymore. He had been right by side since we were married in 1994 through many good times and many stressful times and I felt I had left the Universe with his words. I did not exist without him. This was my belief. I had put on a happy face with unbearable pain, been supportive to friends and family as I was going through my treatments, I had stayed in touch with work and been committed to returning to work as soon as I was physically able to, I had continued to be best friend and confidant to my husband…how was it possible that my marriage was falling apart? My husband became a stranger to me within days of his announcement and over the next few months with little sleep/food and full time effort of trying to get my husband to talk to me, let me into his inner world of why he would want to leave the life we had built so closely together I went full blown into lyme disease again. I dropped down to 101 lbs. and became terribly depressed and suicidal…it did not appear I was going to survive a broken heart. My husband did not love me anymore and I did not love me. I was not a worker and now not a wife, I had no value.
It was my 2 year old Niece that began my awakening. She was so happy and carefree and she helped me remember a time in my life before I had met my husband when I was happy just to feel the sunlight on my face. I began to realize that my desire to be a perfect wife, perfect Occupational Therapist, perfect daughter, perfect friend, perfect everything had exhausted me and dropped my immunity to allow Lyme Disease to flourish once and now again. I began to realize I was not only physically out of balance but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually too. I did not know I was a complete soul without another person to complete me. I began to take small steps forward each day to engage again in life and discover who I was, the real me. I wanted to know unconditional love. I wanted to learn how to love my perfect imperfection. I wanted to live a heart centered life and not an ego centered life.
In 2006 I fulfilled a dream of mine by moving to the East Coast to live by the ocean. I continued with ongoing treatment of Lyme Disease but what was helping me the most was the daily exercises I did to get in touch with my inner being. I connected with a spiritual path called Eckankar and I learned how to sing HU in contemplation to open my heart to love. I began to discover my inner guide/voice and I transitioned from someone who felt life was happening to her to someone who saw every experience as an opportunity to learn about giving and receiving divine love. I began keeping a journal of all that I was grateful for and all the daily connections I saw with the divine in my life. I also began keeping a dream journal and I began to become aware of the guidance I received in my dreams. The more I learned to quiet my mind and listen the more I realized how information and signs were all around me to guide me and help me with any problems I was facing. I discovered that my boundaries with people were not very strong and I frequently took on others problems or I took responsibility for their happiness. I discovered many of my choices were based on wanting to get love, attention, recognition, and promotion instead of true connection with service and giving from my heart. This was not easy to see. I was so afraid of not existing without the love of others that I had not tuned in to the always available love from the divine.
One of my biggest surprises was the power of my thoughts. The use of a journal to record experiences began to show me that what I thought is exactly what I created. I also realized how negative pity is vrs compassion. Lyme Disease began to talk to me and I began to talk to it…I took on the role of a student and asked Life to teach me and the message came loud and clear once I was open to hearing it: All is exactly as it should be. Everything in your life is to help you learn about giving and receiving divine love. Let go of judgement and fear. You are loved dear one.
My favorite words these days are Thank You, Forgiveness, Love, and Kindness. I sing HU inwardly throughout my day to keep my heart open to love. As my attention has shifted from wanting to be cured and perfect to wanting to do my best each day living a heart centered life…my health has improved. I am off almost all medications, I am gaining strength and range of motion, my energy is lasting longer, my sleep is better, pain is going down, and symptoms are starting to disappear or lessen and just recently I achieved something that at one point I thought I would never be physically able to do again. I danced.