How has Lyme Disease affected your life? What inspires you?
Well, I did it – I am a college graduate! This is such a major accomplishment for me – especially in light of my health challenges – and has led me to reflect on all I’ve learned and how I’ve changed these last six years: The philosopher Machiavelli asserted that no matter how smart, talented, or hardworking an individual, he or she can only control 50 percent of their life’s outcomes. The rest is up to fortuna – uncontrollable, unpredictable events or circumstances that for better or worse shape our history. While I personally reject much of Machiavelli’s arguments, this concept rings so true to me.
As I’m sure most of you here know, it was about 5 years ago – right after my freshman year – that I first became sick with what doctors eventually diagnosed as Lyme disease and co-infections. Anyone who deals with chronic health challenges knows the frustration of wanting to do more than their body allows. When I look back at my time at BYU, I am a little sad that I wasn’t able to do more. But considering the hand I was dealt, I know that I did the best I could. I am grateful for all the opportunities I received and am proud of myself for all I did accomplish in spite of my limitations.
While fortuna has been unkind to me with Lyme, I recognize that in countless other ways I have been so blessed beyond what is merited. I recognize that I enjoy much privilege and that I owe my graduation to so many people who have taught, loved, encouraged, and supported me along the way. I especially owe so much to my husband Sam who has been there for me through every breakdown and every triumph. I am not being trite when I say I could not have done any of this without him.
I know what I would like to do going forward, but I am uncertain of how my plans and my health will mix. So I will do all I can to realize my goals, recognizing there are some things that lie out of my control. But whether in good fortune or bad, I give thanks and praise to my God, whom with all things – both reaching the highs and enduring the lows – are possible.