Today, I have hope.
When I was a kid, I loved riding my bike. I remember when I turned five and my parents were getting divorced, that my Dad gave me a big girl bike with streamers and helped me ride it before my mom and I moved away… (those memories have always been tied together)
When I lived with my grandparents for a year, I used a borrowed bike but I remember riding their neighborhood streets seeing how long I could go with no hands on the bars – I got really, really good at it.
When I was in middle school, I got a cherry red ten-speed road bike and I LOVED it. It was one of my prized possessions. The summer before 8th grade my best friend and I had the brilliant idea to ride our bikes down a big, steep grass hill… We were flying down it, screaming and laughing when I hit a rock or hole and flipped over the handlebars. I cried to my mom, not because of my scratches, bruises, and sore neck, but because my bike was bent and scratched and would never be the same. A neighbor helped straighten it out, but it never was quite right again. When I moved to MA when I was 15 it was left behind, and I always missed it. I got a mountain bike there, but it wasn’t the same.
In college, during spring break (I think) I met up with my family at Callaway Gardens in GA. One of my favorite memories from that trip was riding ALL OVER that place with my Uncle. This is my last great memory of riding a bike.
Another college break, I was visiting one of my best friends and her family in NH and we all decided to ride bikes into town… I can’t remember any details because all I really remember was how much my knee hurt. I couldn’t figure out what was going on but chalked it up to having tweaked something.
When my husband and I bought our first house, I was excited to have a garage to store a bike in! I wasn’t sure if I wanted a road bike or a mountain bike, but I was on the lookout for MY BIKE. On a road trip to Colorado, I ended up buying a fancy (for me) mountain bike – measured for me – and a cute helmet at University Bicycles in Boulder and hauled it back home. When we got back I was excited to go for a ride… but was crushed when after a whole 5 minutes of riding my knees were hurting and my right one was ON FIRE. Like I didn’t know if I could make it back to the house ON FIRE.
After that, I tried starting small and working up to longer rides with no luck. Each time I was more discouraged than the last, it wasn’t getting better, it felt like it was getting worse. I asked my doctor, and he examined it but thought it was fine. He said I could go to a specialist, but recommended strengthening the knee, and honestly, made me feel silly about it. I was young and healthy, with no previous injuries after all.
When the age of 30 was quickly approaching, like any other girl, I freaked out and decided I was going to run a 5K. So I trained, and I did. Hey, my knee is fine! My right ankle wasn’t, but whatever. I tried riding my bike again… I could ride for a whole 20 minutes until the ON FIRE pain became unbearable. Yay? WTF.
Let’s just say my bike is an excellent dust collector. I have no idea where my helmet is…
Fast forward to today. I now know that it’s a real possibility that chronic Lyme Disease is the root cause of my knee pain, as I’ve been undiagnosed for more than 20 years. Lyme is caused by a spirochete—a corkscrew-shaped bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi that drive into tissue, and because it just loves collagen, it likes to make a home in the tissue of joints and cause inflammation (other microbes from co-infections can do this too). I don’t want to get too excited, because of how long I’ve had Lyme (and potential damage) but… I asked my Lyme Specialist today if she thought it was possible I could potentially be able to ride a bike again, and she said yes, she’s seen similar things happen once people go into remission!
So, today I have hope. Now, go for a bike ride and enjoy this fall weather! I’m just going to be grateful that I’m as healthy as I am, considering, and apply some Hope essential oil over my heart!
Note: I first posted this privately on my Facebook profile about a month ago (Oct 2017)… I felt inspired to share it here to reach more of my fellow Lyme Warriors and to raise awareness. Sadly this disease comes with a stigma attached, is mostly ignored by the CDC, and is largely misunderstood by physicians.