"As I sat on the edge of the examination table, I felt a surge of pressure enter the crevasse of my lower back. Soon pain streamed into my spine and down each leg, as the doctor repositioned the needle in order to retrieve the fluid needed to fill 12 test tubes.
This was nothing new to me, for I had jumped through this hoop before. This was just another routine lumbar puncture, in order to see if the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacterium streaming through my blood system was still inhibiting my central nervous system.
How did I get here, you may ask? It all began with a simple bite from a deer tick, the size of a poppy seed, which led me to be diagnosed with Lyme Disease in the fall of 2017.
You may have heard about this disease before, yet you may have also been misinformed of the incredible danger that comes with this diagnosis.
If one is fortunate enough to catch this disease in the early stages by finding a red bull’s eye rash on the surface of their skin, they may go to their doctor and be prescribed a simple round of the antibiotic Doxycycline.
Most make a swift recovery after one round of this antibiotic, yet some will face a fate worse than death if not caught within the early stages.
You may think I am over exaggerating, but I was one of the unfortunate individuals who never found the bull’s eye rash on their skin. In fact, Borrelia Burgdorferi was streaming through my blood for over a year, tapping into my central nervous system and damaging my internal organs, before I ever received an official diagnosis.
In the early hours of the morning on November 22, 2017 I exhibited my first noticeable symptom of Lyme Disease – I blacked out. As my body lay on the cool wooden floor boards of my bedroom, my head wretched in an attempt to pull myself up from the ground. As I began to sit in an upward position, a sensation spiraled down the rear of my head, flowing into my neck, shoulders, and arms, which then stretched into the tips of my fingers.
The sensation tingled throughout my upper body, almost as though your foot were falling asleep. As I dragged myself to the bedroom wall in an attempt to sit in an upward position, the tingling sensation stirred and became more rapid. The once uncomfortable feeling now turned unbearable as it felt as though my upper body were on fire.
I laid my back against the wall, unable to speak. My skin was burning and felt as though it were melting from my shaking bones. Within five minutes, the sensation dismantled and disappeared. I crawled to my dresser and hoisted myself up, only to feel as though Babe Ruth had swung a home run into the lower half of my head.
With little hesitation, I called into work and stated that I would be making a trip to Urgent Care. Little did I know, the doctor would find a more severe diagnosis than I had anticipated - one that would change the trajectory of my life. It was then on November 30, 2017 I received that life altering call:
“Hello Miss. Beal – I do not mean to be quick, but you must listen and do as I say,” the doctor hastened. “You must get to the emergency room immediately – your test for Lyme Disease has come back positive, and I fear that it has made its way into your neurological system.”
“Miss. Beal…Miss. Beal…Did you hear me?” She asked quickly.
I heard every word, every horrible word.
From that moment on, my life as I knew it, had changed forever. I had bid farewell to the old version of myself and was now entering a transitional stage in my life that would create the woman I am today.
In the months to come, I would be forced to leave my job due to the worsening symptoms. I would then enter full time treatment, which consisted of cognitive therapy and physical rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.
Monday thru Friday, I had a full-time job. Yet, this job was to focus on my body and learn how to heal.
To be honest, this was one task I never excelled at. I never truly knew what it meant to take time for herself.
This is when Fred & Far made a bold entrance into my life. Upon accidentally stumbling across their website through an Instagram post, I found their Self Love Pinky Ring. This ring serves as a symbol to remind the wearer to love and cherish herself– it is a symbol of the divine feminine.
Without hesitation, I knew that I had to have this ring in my possession. Ever since, I have worn it to serve as my reminder that self love in incredibly important. For me, it was necessary to take time to fight, to heal, and to recover. If I hadn’t, I may not be where I am today.
One year later, I can say that this was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only did I gain a beautiful ring, but also a tribe. A tribe of women who took Fred & Far’s pledge to honor herself, to choose herself, and to remember herself on a daily basis.
To say it has been a rigorous year is an understatement, yet Fred & Far helped to remind me that it was ok to put myself first – something I truly needed to hear at such an imperative time.
Today I am a functional individual who has defied the odds of Lyme Disease. My team of ten doctors and practitioners, who I rightfully named Team Saving Grace, are amazed at my progress and the majority have discharged me from their care.
Moving forward, I can now reenter the workforce as a healthy, functional, independent woman who now knows the value of her life – all thanks to a little reminder I wear daily.
I guess you can say, my life is now truly sublime – and Fred & Far helped to make it possible."
Connect with her on Instagram! @herlifeissublime
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month! Please help raise awareness by partaking in the Lyme Disease Challenge where you can take a bite out of Lyme! To participate please visit http://lymediseasechallenge.org/join-lyme-disease-challenge/