I married my husband, Dan Dorow, and earned the right to call myself "stepmom" to his two children. We skied, golfed, biked, and enjoyed theatre by the sea. That summer, I started a new principalship. I was healthy, running daily, leading my team of over one hundred teachers and staff, and - after a taste of mentoring an administrative intern, I was ambitious enough to take on a part time position as a college lecturer at Simmons College in the Graduate School of Special Education. We enjoyed our lives, traveling, networking, walking our dogs in the woods and being involved in the school community.
Dan was an avid hunter. Fisherman. Golfer. I loved to explore the woods, run at sunset. Had either of us taken a tick off our bodies? Once or twice, nothing that we worried about back then. Had either of us ever had a bulls-eye rash? Not that we remember. It was a busy, fast paced, beautiful life.
Suddenly, I found myself sobbing in a lawn chair in the middle of my yard for reasons unknown. I would sob endlessly, knees to my chin, wondering what was happening. During my first pregnancy I became so incredibly ill that I could no longer teach Graduate School classes, giving up something I dearly loved to do, because I spent more time spinning in the stairwell, holding onto the walls, violently ill, needing to be rescued, parking my car and random driveways with disabling migraines waiting hours for someone to find me. Along with some new thyroid, blood pressure and other issues I had to learn to deal with in my life, my newborn son spent most of his in the hospital with unexplained fevers, rashes pulmonary issues and rare afflictions. It was after my second child was born that I began struggling from profound fatigue and varied bizarre medical conditions. I had become neurologically challenged, with a brain that failed me in a job that required me to be at the top of my! cognitive game, in the public eye, in front of a school board, and most importantly with the direct community that I served. I had no choice but to resign. I spent months at home wondering where things went wrong. Had I lost myself forever? It wasn't until October of 2010 that I became so severely physically ill that medically, my questions were finally answered. I had Late Stage Lyme disease. By then my career was gone. Doctoral degree? No longer useful. My identity? Lost.