Gratitude Post ~ Everything I Wanted

Before I contracted Lyme disease along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River in northwest Montana, I had everything I wanted.  I had pretty much reached all of the major goals I had set for myself and then some.

Thesis field work, 2003.

Thesis field work, 2003.

Not only had I gotten into (and completed) graduate school, but I had done so under the former Chief of my agency, and a conservation, wildlife, and wildland fire hero.  I had landed the perfect job, which was created for me, in my first choice location.  In fact, it was a combination of the districts that together made up my top choice location in the nation.

I decided to carry this over from my corresponding Facebook page (Invisibly Lyme Montana) as perhaps the beginning of a (gratitude)habit, or just a piece of my story to share.

I posted this last Sunday.  Monday I had a rough day—a bit of remorse driving past and through the magnificence of two of my districts, followed by a horrible reaction to a very small exposure to a food I no longer can tolerate.

But people responded to and shared this post, which brought it back to mind and made me feel better.

From Sunday, October 5, 2014:

Today, I am less saddened by the thought that before Lyme disease I had everything I wanted. I am grateful and blessed to have achieved all of the goals I had set for myself and that I got to work for several years in a perfect job in a perfect place. My job was made for me (literally) and it wasn’t perfect, but it was challenging and meaningful, physical and cognitive, and wonderful. I am grateful for what I had, and that my kids got to see me do it and got to do it with me. I am praying for all of us, but I’m thinking today especially of all of you trying to finish college or high school, that you will get glimpses of how wonderful life is going to be when you are better and how much sweeter it will be for you because of what you have survived. I got to live my dreams first, but you will get to live yours SO richly and magically because you will have the rare gift of really knowing what you have….

20 mile day hike over 2 mountain passes, on a whim with a friend.

20 mile day hike over 2 mountain passes, on a whim with a friend.


Stanton Lake loon monitoring. Not a bad gig.


A day at work ~ the perfect job



2 comments on “Gratitude Post ~ Everything I Wanted

  1. Wow, amazing photos!

    I sometimes feel annoyed that I got sick so young when I was just starting to get my life together, but then other times I think that if I had achieved things first maybe I wouldn’t have appreciated them as much as I will do when I achieve them in the future once I’ve kicked Lyme & Co’s ass!

    My ultimate goal is to hike and camp in the Grand Canyon. I had originally planned it for next Spring, but I think I’ll have to put it back another year at this rate. I’ll get there eventually though!

    I just found your blog and am looking forward to having a look around it!



    • I’m glad you did, too Louise! I think you are so right—even just having a good recovery period before this relapse, every thing I could do was sweeter. I didn’t take it for granted before, but even so, it is impossible not to appreciate every bit of it more deeply.
      I had a day at work in the rain that was magical. We were on a raft in the pooring rain for hours until our hands were numb. It was still beautiful on the river, and it was amazing because I was no colder or more miserable than the healthier, younger people I was with. I hadn’t been able to thermoregulate at all for over three years at that point, so I was thrilled.

      At the moment I am en route to Philadelphia for Friday’s vigil and Saturday’s protest outside of IDSA’s annual conference. I am tired, and feeling pretty cruddy lately, but grateful to be feeling decent enough to even attempt it!

      Liked by 1 person

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