Dreams on Hold – Running a Business with Lyme Disease

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Iman is a photographer who, through her unique process of coaching and photography, can show a woman what other people see when they look at her. She is passionate about teaching other photographers how to live and be a professional and making change in the world. She dreams of changing the way women look at their bodies and how the world defines beauty. She also thinks being an instructor on CreativeLIVE would be incredible. Iman battles Lyme disease and shares her unique view of dreaming while fighting for her health. Her post day is Wednesday. info@imanwoods.com Iman Woods If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.
Dreams on Hold - Running a Business with Lyme Disease

Dreams on Hold – Running a Business with Lyme Disease

Running a Business with Lyme Disease

I’m finally home on the farm.

I spent nearly two weeks in Colorado working and catching up with loved ones. I was dreading the trip because I’d just had a Lyme relapse and knew I was pushing my body. But I haven’t gotten the business set up here in North Carolina. I needed the income and needed to be with my friends.

The trip over was fine I suppose. I should have snagged the emergency row so I could move my legs more. Lyme is notorious for nerve and joint pain. By the end of the trip it was difficult to walk. My big problems started after I got my luggage. My instructions were to go to the kiosk in the airport to get my rental car info. They were empty. I called and was told to go the waiting area outside and wait for my rental company’s shuttle.

I feel it’s important to clarify something here. I don’t LOOK sick.

Many people say I’m glowing or I look pretty. Because I don’t look sick, when I ask for help lifting suitcases or opening doors, people treat me funny. Sometimes I wish I had a sticker on my forehead that says, “I’m not lazy – I have an immune disorder! Please help me!”

Every single thing I lift or carry will take a toll on me.

I may not see the implications of it right away but it WILL happen. My friends and family are in the practice of NOT letting me lift things. And even my pride doesn’t stop me from being relieved because I’m truly that exhausted all the time.

The shuttle driver got my suitcases loaded. He unloaded. But then at the rental car place not a soul would help. Two women even stood in front of the door gabbing. When I said excuse me they complimented my skirt but did not offer to open the door. So I trucked the suitcases in, one at a time, signed my paperwork and got them in the trunk of the not-so-sexy Dodge Caravan myself.

I don’t know if you realize how much pain and fatigue I fight daily. I feel weak because of it. When I finally got in the driver’s seat I was so worn out and in pain I cried for a few minutes.

Then, because I’m running a business with Lyme Disease, I did what I always do: I pushed myself. And got myself home to my BFF Jenna’s house.

Working that much while traveling was harder than I thought it would be.

I had a migraine every single night. I woke up in pain every morning. I was nauseous and I struggled to drive. After one shoot I had tremors in my hands and sat in Chik Fil A looking like a freak who couldn’t feed herself. My trembling hand couldn’t quite reach my mouth.

While I am proud I made it through and produced good work, I’ve had to take an honest look at my body and put some very exciting dreams on hold. I was going to travel to Florida and Singapore in the next few months. I am forced to face the fact that those trips can’t possibly happen unless I hire an assistant to fly with me and help with every aspect of travel and work. I have one person who is perfect, but she runs two businesses and I can’t ask her to leave them alone so long.

So with a broken heart, I’m telling myself that when the time is right I’ll be able to grow my business the way I dream.

I’m so tired of sitting at home and watching other photographers travel and grow. But it’s not my time. There must be a reason. My dream is on hold because of Lyme Disease. Taking care of myself is the only part I have control over.

  • I think the hardest part of an autoimmune disease is being forced to listen to our bodies tell us that we need rest and obeying that command. I first discovered my resistance to taking care of myself when Brian was a baby and people would tell me to rest when he rested.

    I thought, “Forget about that!! I get so much done when he is asleep!” Then one day I drove to work forgetting to take him to his grandma’s for daycare. I even forgot that he was in the back seat until he squealed a little laugh as I was parking the car. I realized at that moment just how sleep deprived I had allowed myself to become. I shuddered at the thought that I could have left him in the car. It really freaked me out.

    So I bit the bullet and began to do his exact schedule and listen to the mom’s who kept saying, “REST” to me and they meant, “Go to bed early.” SO when Brian went to bed, I went to bed — even if it was 7:00 p.m. at night. Lights out, stories in bed. Over time I began to recover. I let my housekeeping go to once every three weeks and refused to feel guilty if I washed clothes and we went through the pile before they got put away.

    I let go of any perfectionist shame and said, “I accept this.I will care for me like I’d care for someone I love with this.” As my son grew up and could do more for himself and help me — things began to change. It’s OK to feel the way you do. It’s OK that your body needs care. It’s OK to rest after you push it.

    After your rest you will begin to see your way around your dream. I know what it is to put a dream on hold, but remember, it’s really not on hold when you show up to say it’s on hold…. :) your big toe is still in the water and we can celebrate that!

    Remember to do some great breathing exercises and gratitude thoughts for all that is working in your life, and the fact that you mean so much to so many of us.


    • ImanWoods

      Everyone said rest when the baby rests, but I seriously am not able to take naps. Now I know I just need to lie down. It will ebb and flow. Thank you. I know you understand.

  • Remy Gervais

    I wish there was a way we could work together. If you need to travel in the US as long as I have internet connection and my phone I can work…Im older – but can still lift heavy things without crying….:) well, without crying in front of others lol – AND you are right, PLEASE take care of yourself. Work will flow when your energy flows. Hunker down with the Bub and rest. REST I say!

    • ImanWoods

      If no WHEN I make it out your way, you’re hired. :)