The old saying is that misery loves company. While that may be true, it is also true that positive people love company, too. Through my sister’s battle with Chronic Lyme Disease, there hasn’t been much to be positive about. Yet, she and her group of friends who are also suffering from the same disease have managed to keep smiles on each other’s faces, and keep each other afloat when they feel as if they might sink.
The most powerful thing to me about their friendship is that most of these girls have never actually met. But that is about to change.
A few months ago, my mother and I took my sister and two of her friends on a trip to Boston, close to where one of my sister’s Lyme friends lives. We worked it out with her friend and her mother, and planned a time and place to meet. Watching my sister and her friend, Kerry, meet in person for the first time after almost two years of friendship was one of the most magical moments of all of our lives. And now, next week, my sister and Kerry finally get to meet with the other girls in their group.
After watching the struggles my sister was going through, and not being able to understand them directly, my family and I were constantly on the lookout for people with Lyme Disease who could offer my sister any sort of shoulder to lean on. Turns out, we were just looking in all the wrong places. It wasn’t until my sister began using social media to reach out to people her own age that she found these girls, but it’s been almost two years, and they are some of the strongest friendships she has ever had.
To some, finding others with the same issues can make personal problems seem worse. That’s where “misery loves company” comes in. We were warned by some that having Cassidy in such close contact with her peers may give her phantom symptoms; we had read stories about kids and teens taking on symptoms of their peers, even if their own symptoms were not as severe. But ever since my sister started talking to these girls, she has been more herself than ever.
They speak on a daily basis, and when one of them has a problem, the rest listen and offer advice that no one else could. Because some of them are in different stages of the disease, they are able to provide each other with pointers, tips, and expectations of what might come next, or how to handle a specific symptom. They have sympathy for each other’s pain, but also offer the support that they need to keep pushing through.
My parents and the parents of the other girls have arranged a get-together for the girls next week. They all live in different states, but next weekend, they will all be together for the first time. Although, I have a feeling it won’t feel like they are just meeting; instead, it will feel like one of the happiest reunions they have ever had.