Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Old Monas: a Picture Story

I thought I'd post some pics of the old Monas. Most of you knew her at some point in her life. Some of you may have never met her. She intends on coming back. In fact, she has told me she intends to be healthier and happier than she EVER was before this all happened. Getting to that place is and has been a long journey. But I will never give up trying to get there.

Picture story here:

When I look back at these pictures, I am amazed that I was ever able to do these things. Simple things - like cook a meal, or have the energy to cook a meal with my niece! I think it's been years since I've had even that small amount of energy. But then I see pictures of me dancing, hiking, snowboarding, having the cognitive ability to get through law school and pass the California Bar Exam! All these things I took for granted.

Nowadays, I am happy if I can make a meal and not be exhausted after. I am happy if I can read the front page of the New York Times and remember what I read the next day (or sometimes the next hour). Dancing, hiking, surfing, rock climbing, traveling, those all seem like memories from another lifetime and another body that I inhabited. Even getting on a plane is a challenge without an oxygen tank and usually requires a few days to a week to recover (the hypoxic environment is VERY hard on Lyme patients and causes major symptom flares).

How did I galavant across South America, Europe, India, Colorado, Hawaii, how did I do that? Even simple things like going to a concert. I could never do that now. My noise and light sensitivity is so bad that sometimes I have to wear sunglasses when I watch TV or leave my cherished Target visits (yes, that's what I do for fun) b/c the lights and noise are too much. I haven't even listened to music for the greater part of 2 years because it hurts my ears.

I feel like I've inhabited this strange body - that isn't mine, but that has become mine, this ungodly thin and frail woman who is nobody I know but who I have been for almost 3 years. And so I cannot remember what it FEELS like to have the energy to just leave the house like a normal person for an ENTIRE day, without bags of meds and supplements and bags and coolers of special diet foods and a time schedule because I always tire out easily and need to return home to my nest to nap, and earplugs. I want to just go, just go for a walk, drive to the store, to the gym, go for a hike, spend the whole day playing frisbee, go for a swim, to a concert, for some beers, and dance all night long. I just cannot imagine what that is like. It is so foreign and yet I took it for granted my entire life and now I am 32, and have less energy than my 90 year old grandmother (Aji) who is sitting on the couch with me.

All I can do now is employ the powers of my mind, meditate, believe, strive, and keep believing on days or weeks when I am crying and hysterically ill for what seems like FOREVER and cannot see through the darkness to the end of this long tunnel. In those times, I read the many quotes I have taped all over my walls, one of my favorites being:

"All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far. When an idea exclusively occupies the is transformed into an actual ...physical or mental state. We reap what we sow. We are the makers of our own fate. None else has the blame, none has the praise. There is no help for you outside of yourself;you are the creator of the universe.

Like the silkworm, you have built a cocoon around yourself.
Burst your own cocoon and come out as the beautiful butterfly, as the free soul. Then you will see the truth.
In one word, this ideal is that you are divine. God sits in the
temple of every human body." - Swami Vivekananda


  1. I know it's totally immature of me to say, but my first thought when seeing this picture was "Why is Mona wearing a helmet in a speed-walking race? And why is she in a speed-walking race in the first place??" Granted, this is probably a triathlon, or some other physical endurance test I could never complete (I have an excuse: I'm Jewish). But still, I had to drop a note to share my ridiculous thought. : )
    -Daniel Schweitzer

  2. Daniel, you are SO funny! It DOES look like I was speed-walking. In fact, I think I was. It was the Muddy Buddy (running and mt biking race) - I am a much better mountain biker than runner, so you may be in fact right that I was speed-walk racing. I love you!