When I very first got my diagnosis I had recently started a mosaic as my final project for the one of my classes that semester. – This posting was how I spent the first couple days of my treatment. My life consisted of horrible nausea and fatigue so I was sleeping a ton but I would get random mini bursts of creative energy, which I used to do a mosaic table for my final project in one of my college classes. This event in my life happened before I started blogging. It is an unwritten piece of my Lyme story that I had to share with you!
I was giving 100% artistic freedom for my art class final and I decided to do a mosaic. I visited a local mosaic store and began looking around hoping to be inspired. Of course I started in the clearance bins first because my mom taught me well! A tub full of bright orange-red tiles caught my eye and I was intrigued! I knew I could make this color work with my current red kitchen. My instructor had one rule for this assignment; it had to be a pattern “inspired by nature” so I choose zebra stripes. I already had a table because I found one a couple of years previous, when I first got an itch to make a mosaic. It was the perfect size and shape. It had tiles in it when I bought it so all I had to do was remove the existing tiles and start my project.
Back in the day, I was a camp counselor at a bereavement camp. One gem learned while I was there was to stand on soft ground (grass or dirt) with a wooden baseball bat and a medium to large box stuffed with newspaper. I would encourage the kids (everyone, actually) to scream or grunt and hit the box as much as they want. The physical aggression aides in helping the body process emotions, plus it’s fun!
I took this knowledge and began stabbing my table with a screwdriver and hammer. I probably could have removed the existing tiles in a safer way, but had earth-shaking and life-defining news (learning I had Lyme disease and starting treatment that same day). I needed to process…so stabbing, banging, and chipping away at the existing white tiles was cheap therapy for me.
When I learned about how common Lyme is in other parts of the country and being so angry that I went 8+ years undiagnosed seeing every doctor imaginable and NONE of them ever mentioned Lyme! Perfect timing at it’s finest because I was able to I started pounding and chipping my $10 garage sale table. Eventually the white tiles were out and next step was ready for me! But I still had a lot of processing to do and that’s when the real grief was originally processed. Cutting tiles and gluing them down was so healthy for me!
It is a strange phenomenon that I had NO energy, lots of nausea and dizziness, yet all my body wanted to do was sleep or do art projects, like my mosaic. Best of all, this therapy required very little movement, but it did require strong hands to cut the tiles, hundreds and hundreds of tiles. I gave myself a few blisters, but most of all I started accepting what it felt like to have the rug pulled out from under me. Everything is going to be okay because I had a good primary doctor, good support at home, and really good insurance that covered the beginning of my treatment (totally rare for most Lymies).
Just a few short weeks after the picture of me above was taken I would get my first picc-line, start doing IV infusions, move an hour away from Justin to move back in with my dad and step-mom so my family could all check on me and collectively provide me with nearly 24/7 care. I had big changes happening in my life.
As for college and my art final, my instructor was amazingly generous and allowed me to finish the class early. I e-mailed her pictures of my final product and that was good enough for her because she just gave me an A in the class!
November 9, 2010 is the date I learned about my diagnosis and started on oral antibiotics while we waited for my Igenex Lab to confirm the diagnosis. Day One of treatment I was functional…sorta — I’m pretty sure I went to work on November 10 but was unable go to work to from that day forward. As days of treatment continued the sicker I got. I barely knew anything and me and my support system were clueless as to what we could expect. None of us expected the sudden change just from adding an antibiotic to my day. It was a few challenging days and weeks as I adjusted moving out of my house and moving in with my parents.
Collectively, my parents took over my daunting schedule of medications and forced me to eat when I needed to eat and constantly helping me to stay hydrated. It was amazing how they worked together tried their hardest to respect Justin and to not step on his toes after-all, he is my husband. Plus, he is so smart about medical things, which was nice for him to explain why my body is so sick and answer most questions from friends and family.
During this time Justin was in a full-time paramedic academy and preparing to fly to Peru for a medical Internship. (more on that later). That first month I was rapidly losing weight and muscle mass because I couldn’t eat or move much. I couldn’t even keep down a saltine cracker! It was a complete 180. At this point I was hardly able to get out of bed, but I fought the fatigue and would spend as long as I could working on my mosaic. Some days only a few minutes other days I was able to do a couple of hours.
Here’s my mosaic that helped me process some anger with the new news of getting my diagnosis.
Mosaics are super easy to make and fairly inexpensive! Got some grieving and processing to do? I recommend making a mosaic!