*Hi there. I’m back after a two year hiatus. I hope you’re well.

I breathe deeply and stretch myself into Downward Dog as I gaze at flowers depicting the phases of the moon. My teenage daughter looks at my yoga mat with envy every time she passes my bedroom. My legs are bent, and my heels don’t reach the floor, but I’m not bothered. Years of taking Iyengar classes from my mother taught me that lengthening the back matters more than straightening the legs. I’m doing a 30 day yoga challenge led by a popular YouTube teacher. She is attractive and down to earth, making small jokes at her own expense and letting her mellow blue heeler steal the show as he ambles in and out of the frame. I’ve done this challenge at the beginning of each year for the past several years. It’s a manageable commitment and has also become a barometer of my health.

Some years I fly through the challenge with ease. Others are more halting. In early 2022 I found myself moving more and more slowly with each passing day. I somehow made it through all thirty, but by the end of the month I could no longer deny what was happening. I was in a Lyme flare. Six weeks later, in early March, I left my Pre-K teaching job, too exhausted to power through to June.

I had started out strong.

The forced pause of the pandemic had been good for me. My body was able to rest and recover, and the treatment protocol I was on had time to work its magic. By 2021 I felt restored. My old self again. As the months went by I found myself itching to get back to the classroom. So I took a bunch of early childhood ed classes and got a job at at a local preschool for the fall.

That summer, a month before starting my new job, I was filled with the certainty that my sick days were behind me. While on an adventurous family trip I scrambled over spiky volcanic rock, hiked to the tops of mountains, snorkeled with seals and sea turtles, and rode horses through stunning valleys. I was active for hours and hours each day without tiring. Family members pointed out that I was outpacing them. They said I was healthier than they were now.

I believed them.

The chapter of my life involving chronic illness was closed for good. Sayonara!

But hubris has a way of biting you in the butt. So after a year and a half of robust health, and seven months of teaching, my Lyme flared and I was forced to slow down again. As best I could I explained my health issues to my preschoolers, gave them each a masked hug, held back my tears, and exited the school doors for the last time. Life was quiet for awhile. I started a new protocol for my infections. I slept. I read. I took care of my family, my dog, my cats. I did some projects around the house and some volunteering. I joined a new chorus. I enjoyed the moments when the symptoms of my illness grew quiet. I let myself heal.

And now it is 2023, and I am easing my way back to the mat. Noticing the breath moving in and out of my body. Feeling the stretch of muscles awakening from a long nap. Appreciating the ability to be here now. Curious to see what unfolds next.

3 thoughts on “Persistent

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