A Rocky Mountain Road and a Negative Lyme Test.
Give me a minute to string this together.
On a recent vacation in Telluride, Colorado we decided to take an adventure and drive a Jeep up and down the Imogene Pass in the San Juan Mountain range. Our journey would cover an elevation increase of 4,000 feet, topping out at just over 13,000 feet. And I would be driving. Why? Because I am extremely prone to motion sickness, and the only way I could tolerate the bouncing and turning was by driving. For some reason, I get less motion sick when I drive.
I had no idea what I had signed on for. First, the term “road” is a very loose description of what we were driving on. The “road” was barely wider than the car (and traffic was two way), it had giant boulders in places, giant holes in others, it was gravely, it had a sheer cliff, and there were no guard rails.
In the car with me were my husband, daughter, and our daughter’s friend. I literally had all of our lives in my hands. My husband was a calm and patient navigator, helping me tread my way through the rocky and terrifying terrain. We bumped and bounced all over the place. At times, I’d have to drive over rocks that would tilt the car on edge toward the drop off and the vast nothingness below.
At times I was so afraid I didn’t feel like I could go forward for one more second. But there was no way out. Turning around was not an option. Somebody else driving was not an option unless I wanted to vomit. I didn’t. So my husband kept up the calm navigation, and I kept driving.
We continued in this fashion for over two hours. Even though it was terrifying, it was also exhilarating. We saw beauty in the changing landscape, and a view of the earth we had never previously experienced. We laughed. We screamed. It was raucous and joyous.
And then it happened. We rounded one of the many harrowing hairpin turns we had been navigating, and suddenly, there it was. The summit. 13,114 feet. The girls cheered, and I blurted out “I just drove to the top of a mountain!”. It felt outstanding. The view was indescribable. The joy was palpable. If driving to the top of a mountain felt this good, I can only imagine what climbing to the top of one must feel like.
Well, in a way I do know what it feels like to climb to to the top of a mountain. But it’s a different kind of mountain. This mountain is called Negative Lyme Test.
That’s right. A couple of weeks before we left for Telluride my doctor informed me I had finally tested negative for Lyme Disease. It’s my first negative Lyme test since 2005.
As I reflect on the journey that brought me to that negative test, I realize it’s a lot like driving that Jeep up the mountain. The road was rocky and unstable. There were pot holes. I was terrified and wanted to quit at times. My husband was at my side encouraging me and helping me navigate. And somehow, some way, I just kept going.
Then suddenly, the summit came into view.
I am not out of the woods. The negative Lyme test is excellent news, but Lyme leaves a swath of destruction that remains long after the last spirochete dies.
So, I still have a lot of healing to do, but it will progress much better without Lyme invading my space. The road is still long. But less rocky, more stable, and much less terrifying.
As I reflect on the view at the top of the Imogene Pass, all the usual cliches come to mind: breathtaking, stunning, spectacular, surreal. Standing up there was like nothing I had ever experienced. The world in a whole different perspective.
That’s my state of mind since my negative Lyme test. More things feel possible now. I’m starting to believe I can create a new life for myself that has less suffering, more joy, more freedom.
And a better view.