Around a decade ago I went on a trip to Italy and then to Austria. It seems that I brought back with me more than my luggage and souvenirs.I slowly but steadily started getting very sick. I think the first time I realised something was truly wrong with me, was when I and my friends went for an evening stroll round town and for the life of me I couldn't keep up with them. Then the fevers began, that went on and on. Then the anxiety attacks out of nowhere and for no reason.
I went to doctor after doctor after doctor. Some were nice and tried to help others were not so nice and quite patronising. I was tossed from one doctor to the next, but none could give me the answer I desperately needed: What was wrong with me?!
This process took many months and by then I was getting truly disabled. I started losing the ability to speak and walk and even to think clearly at times.
And then a miracle happened. A doctor took one look at me and said "I know what's wrong with you" and he pointed at this huge rash I had that had the shape of a bullseye. He said: "You have Lyme Disease". Let's get some blood tests done. The blood tests came back positive and I tried getting treatment here in Cyprus. To make a very long story short, that was a disaster and I had to go to Germany to get treatment. By then though, I was in a wheelchair, having seizures, weak as a kitten and positive I was going to die.
To be brief I have been through many years of treatment. And I am better. But because it took so long to get a diagnosis and then so long to get proper treatment Lyme has kind of left it's mark on me in two ways: seizures which I am happy to say don't happen every day anymore - I can go for months without one. And second on the list are my legs. Now considering a few years ago I was in a wheelchair for most of the time and now I can move about and even walk distances I am NOT complaining :) They just seem to occasionally have a mind of their own. Terrible pain on somedays and somedays they just decline to move, like my brain is not reaching them for some reason. Oh and half of my face gets pulled to one side sometimes (my husband makes Elvis jokes when this happens to make me laugh because my mouth pulls sideways too!).
I am extremely grateful to be here today. I thought I was going to die and I didn't. I have a second chance and I want to be wise with how I choose to live my life, not take it for granted, that's why I am following my dreams.
I empathise deeply with anyone who finds themselves alone in a dark scary place in life. If I had one wish it would be to be able to infiltrate magically that place and give them a hug and say "You are not alone" "This will not go on forever, it will be ok".
And I think that is what I try to do through my painting.
P.S. The painting above this post was done years ago in a hospital bed.