Friday, June 1, 2012

The Under Our Skin Viewing

Our viewing was amazing.

First in the middle of April, I was at a support group meeting.  Now I have NEVER been to one in the entire five years I have been diagnosed.  However, my friend Pete runs one and I decided to go to support him.  While we were there, we talked about Advocacy for May.  I mentioned that I had the community rights to show the film in public and we moved forward with our plans to host a screening.  A close friend of Pete's and advisor helped us set up a room to hold the viewing at NC State.

We worked together all month long to get set up for the screening.   We arrived to the building and were worried about the door to the classroom being locked.  Then --- it happened. The door to the building was locked.  We joked about how many Lymies does it take to get in the building.  I started looking for the advisor's (and campus security) phone number while Pete went around the building to find an open door.  He found one!  The door to the classroom was still open!  Yah!

We set up our tables.  One as soon as people walked in the door of the class for a sign in sheet and raffle tickets.  Then, another full of raffle prizes donated by various people and businesses.  The advisor sent really cool cookies with Lime Green frosting.  Yes, we were naughty and ate them! In fact, a lot of people were naughty and ate them.  My friend Beth ate three!

Once we felt we had a comfortable number and there would only be a few stragglers, we introduced ourselves briefly and began the documentary.  Now this documentary gives me several emotions.  My emotions ran the gambit last night.   I once had to get up in the middle of the documentary to stand out in the hallway and let them loose.

We had a total of between 40 and 45 people.  Some had Lyme, some didn't.  Some were family members of friends with Lyme that were unable to attend because of their health. They were their to support their family.  That is just so awesome.  I met four friends for the first time that I've never been able to meet in person bringing my Lyme friends in person total up to like 30!

My hero, my LLMD, was at the screening last night.  It was easy to see that I was his favorite.  My friend took a picture of us hugging and you could see the look on his face --- pure pride beaming.  Words can not express what he's done for me the last five years.  I cry to think about where I was five years ago and even though I've relapsed --- he refuses to let me hit rock bottom.  We're fighting these beasts together.

And together, my Lyme friends and I will continue to create events like last night to raise awareness.  I am really scared to start my new journey with treatment of Babesia.  I rarely cry about my condition, but last night as I was watching Mandy & Dana --- as I saw them in a place I've been --- and I place I'm avoiding going again --- I had to step out and let my emotions overwhelm me for a moment.  I like to present myself with strength and confidence in front of people.  What is really funny is that in high school and college I absolutely HATED standing  up in front of people.  In fact, I hated it so much that for 8 years everytime I had to speak in front of people --- that I literally got sick after the fact (sometimes DURING the fact, which was embarrassing). I think the reason I'm uncomfortable is because I don't know where to look.  Last night, I had so many friends in the audience that it was easy to pick a friendly face and smile because I knew that a smile would be returned. My friend Carey brought a camera to take photos last night and some of the photos were priceless.  Once I get my card reader found, I will some of my photos with you as well.

Here are SOME of my Lyme friends. Yes, we all live in North Carolina.  Yes, we all have Lyme (well except one lady is a wife of a Lyme patient).  Yes, we all look good.  This is one of my favorite pictures from the night.  I hate that my friend Beth wasn't in the photo.  I searched for her, but couldn't locate her.  She was hiding I guess. 

The joy I felt in my heart last night for the new people that I met and for old friends I haven't seen in a while can't be compared to anything.  The sadness in knowing that we shared a common bond of Lyme also can't be compared.  Thank you all for standing by Pete and me as we undertook this event. I am really proud of us.  Many people say, "I want to do ---" and it never gets done.  Pete & I took the bull by the horns and ran. 



darlabrown1 said...

You guys sure did! It was a great event and I'm proud of you guys, too! I was just telling my mom the other day how some people just go ahead and do things important to them like raise awareness even though they are in pain and fatigued. I just say "awww, my eyes hurt". I know it's hard to do when not feeling well and I commend you for putting on a wonderful event. You guys are making a difference!

darlabrown1 said...

I'm so proud of you guys, too! You did a wonderful job and I know it's really tough when you're in pain and fatigued. You guys are really making a difference!

Jennifer said...

Thanks Darla. It was really nice to meet you!