// August 12th, 2010 // 4 Comments » // Eric's Blog, Fundraising for Lymies
This is the eve of the second benefit fundraiser that my friends and coworkers have put together for me. The first one was in October, I remember little of the night, it was 2 weeks before my first visit with a Lyme specialist and I wasn’t in too good of shape. I do remember it being a beautiful night, surrounded by my friends and family…all the people that help make my world special. The amount raised was within $100 of the cost of my first appointment with the Lyme Dr (which many of you know can reach well into the thousands of dollars before the first visit is done).
At that point in time we thought I would be starting with this Lyme specialist, and sooner than later be “well” again and back to work. It’s been 10 months since then, and here I lay…still in bed, still too sick to work, still fighting against Lyme disease and it’s co-infections. Never did any of us think it would take this long, or be such a rough journey as it has been. But 10 months later I am still here, and fighting harder than ever to beat this.
The opportunity to be treated by a specialist who is one of the best is definitely a blessing. The cost however, is not. I’ve struggled a lot in the last year with that issue. It’s worth every penny to get the care I need and see someone who can properly treat me, but the never ending guilt I feel at becoming a “charity case” still tugs at my pride on a daily basis. I have to remind myself on a regular basis that everything before me is opportunity, and that if I can’t get out of bed to do something, then I’m no use to anyone, including myself.
I feel guilty for all the people who can’t see a Lyme literate MD. For those who can’t afford to travel to the few places where a Lyme treating Dr can be found. For those who can’t work and have families to support, so they can’t even consider treatment an option. For those who don’t even have the option of seeing someone that can help them.
That’s when I have to step away from the guilt and remember my purpose. I made a conscious decision this year to play an active role in Lyme disease awareness and activism. There are many reasons I made that choice. The biggest reason was because I had so much negative energy in me and my life, all because of Lyme. I was angry at what Lyme was doing to my life. I was angry at what I was seeing it do to so many other lives. I was rotting away laying in my bed day after day with no purpose.
Months later most of you know of my involvement in the Lymenaide awareness campaign, and the various projects we have done and are still doing. There are days I cannot focus or work through the pain to do all that I want to do. But I do what I can when I can. I have to remember that my goal to heal and be well again is not just for me, it’s for all the others who aren’t afforded the opportunities I have been. The ability to be treated and fight this hideous disease gives me an opportunity to be well again so I can put all my energy into helping others avoid the loss that comes with Lyme disease. It’s not an easy thing for me to accept donations and gifts from people knowing there are so many who are worse off than me. But it is an easy thing for me to really be involved in helping those people, to giving them a voice.
So I sit here the night before the benefit with very mixed feelings. I’m humbled by the love and support of the people in my life. The organizers of this event and all those who are contributing to make it a success. I rarely feel worthy of such love and caring, especially from those who are “strangers” that I’ve never met. So many of you have offered donations, raffle items etc. to help make the benefit a success. The power of such support is overwhelming, and another reminder of why it is so important for me to get better.
I’m excited to be surrounded by family and friends, to see those I haven’t seen in a long time and to see the wonderful and amazing things people have sent in. I’m nervous about being the center of attention when there are times I can barely handle a simple conversation. I’m honored to have people care so much about me and my healing that they are willing to go to such lengths to help support me on this journey. But most of all I am determined. Determined to give back a hundred fold of what I’m given. Determined to beat Lyme disease. Determined to follow the purpose in all of this, and all the lessons I’ll learn on my journey with Lyme. Determined to stop others from taking this same journey. Determined to help those who need it, those who don’t have the support system I have or the means to get help. I am determined.
A special thank you to everyone involved in the planning and pulling off of such an endeavor. There are no words to describe how much it means to me and how much I truly appreciate it all. I’m fighting for more than just my own life here, I’m fighting to be well enough to help others and make a difference. Everyone’s role in helping to make that happen is truly appreciated. Instead of feeling like a charity case, I instead feel the intense love and warmth from all those who fight alongside me, who add their strength to help pull me through to the other side. I remember how blessed I am to have such love in my life, people that care enough to do all they can to help me beat this. I thank God that I am in a position to not only get the help I need, but to also help others.
A good time is sure to be had by all. I will be posting tons of pictures this weekend, and can’t wait to let everyone know how it went. There are people coming that I’ve never met before, some from several hours away. It will be a very special experience to meet these people that I’ve built a special bond with through our illnesses.
It still hurts my pride to have no choice but to depend on others in order to just live. But the happiness I get from such a blessing far outweighs the damaged pride.
Thank you to everyone involved and for all the well wishes.