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The Importance of Being LymeSexy

July 2, 2010

Sex is a powerful motivator. The urge to drive our genes into the next generation colors and defines much of human experience. When chronic disease invades the body, one of the first casualties is that beautiful lusty thing we call libido.

I contracted Lyme Disease several years ago. The initial assault put me flat-out in excruciating pain. The somatic results were everywhere: joints that refused to move without screaming, muscles that were paralyzed, fever, blurred vision, memory loss (the so-called “Lyme Fog”) and unending fatigue. The list goes on. Then, after an aggressive course of treatment with powerful antibiotics, things began to resolve. Gradually, I got better, but I still felt hollow. The fear that the illness lingered was constantly present, reinforced but the ups and downs of fatigue, pain from damaged nerves and the illogical conclusion that every sniffle or upset stomach was a precursor to a renewed battle with the spirochetes that had ravaged by body. I was, you will excuse the expression, mentally limp.

Being somewhat adept at social media on my computer (Twitter in particular) and since I couldn’t work, spending time on-line was a way to exercise my mind. I discovered a community of Lyme sufferers, collectively conversing under the hashtag #Lyme and it gave me great comfort to read their posts and share in their daily patter. Much of it was informative. Some was compassionate. All of it was entertaining. And then, one day a Tweet popped up which read: “Falling asleep while UR trying to make love is #LymeSexy.” I hadn’t laughed that hard in months. The shocking recognition of the truth and humor blended in those 57 characters and spaces put the kind of knowing smile on my face that I hadn’t experienced in a very long time. And it felt really good … inside, you know?

I started making up little quips like, “When UR hot to trot but too pooped to pop UR #LymeSexy.” Re-Tweets and smiling winks (;-) followed. I’d stumbled onto something. Poking loving fun at our own suffering was somehow therapeutic. The ability to step outside the pain and rediscover the thought of vibrance lost was elevating and empowering. Sexy is an important component of a healthy mind. Damn!

There are many websites and organizations devoted to spreading Lyme awareness. Others provide incredible resources for medical treatment and political activism but I’ve decided to focus on a tiny little niche: rehabilitating the Lyme Libido and raising awareness of the Lyme epidemic we face by promoting LymeSexy as an anthem of sorts. To that end, I owe great thanks to the remarkable artist, Boris Vallejo, who so graciously gave me permission to use one of my favorite illustrations, his  “Phoenix” (above), as the logo for the LymeSexy project. The Phoenix embraces just the right blend of hope and sensuality that the project requires. The notion that something majestic and beautiful can arise from the ashes of a pyre and live again is just what I needed to wrap my brain around and get on to my new life. I also need to thank a very spirited lady named Angela Coulombe who goes by the Twitter name @LymeRunner. I wrote about her earlier (see “TheLymeRunner, below). Her website and her indomitable will have inspired me. Angela recently got accepted to enter the NY Marathon next fall and I’ll be there with other LymeSexy friends to cheer her on.

I will promote this spirit in my writing, in outreach efforts and in fund-raising to help in the Lyme battle. More important, though, is the hope that I can open doors for Lyme sufferers with a message about them. Not the lonely soul locked up by its own grief, but the whimsical sprite who needs to be awakened and nourished on the road to recovery.

Recovery, of course, doesn’t mean becoming what we were before. For me it means becoming better. Becoming LymeSexy. 😉

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 2, 2010 1:44 pm

    I’m thrilled to see this project emerge from our Twitter-verse.

    Libido isn’t just about sex. Its about the creative spirit, the alchemist in us.

    But, yes it is also about sexuality. Something rarely discussed when we explore the challenges of chronic illness. Not just the drive, but also the access to relationships. Many of us become hindered from even seeking out intimate relations because we are under someone’s care in order to manage a functional life at all and it makes it difficult to pursue privacy.

    Sometimes, we face the basic question of “can I be sexy if I’m sick? Will it invalidate to people that I’m sick?”

    Living with an illness that leads to incapacity makes life complicated. That alone can suppress our desires. How to stay in touch with them and how to make room for them to be expressed and how to forge relationships when you are living with this are all so very important to figure out.

    In fact, it may be key to really healing. There are so many aspects of taking care of ourselves wrapped up in this.

    I look forward to pursuing the expression of all of us being LymeSexy.

    Thank you for this.

    • cejesq permalink
      July 2, 2010 1:58 pm

      Right on the money. That essence is what brings joy into lives. Without it, the mind is flat and dull.

  2. July 3, 2010 2:59 pm

    I am just…wordless about what you have written here. You go boy! Long live the lymesexy. You hit the nail on the head.

  3. July 6, 2010 3:26 pm

    Love this Cris!!

  4. Bev Malona permalink
    July 6, 2010 5:46 pm

    Too many people compartimentalize the human person. When chronic illness comes the focus is one dementional and this is not good. The person becomes the slave of the illness. All thought, choices, emotions become bound to the illness. What you are doing is a wonderful thing. Reintegrating all aspects of the person-through that delightful human attribute humor. The ability to face certain present realities with humor is life saving! More than that, to this date medical people shy away from dealing with the realities of the intimate life. Again as products of this culture they do not see the totality of the person or of the intimate life which as your previous commentor stated “Libido isn’t just about sex. It’s about the creative spirit…….”. It is about the relational foundation which is spiritual, intellectual, and emotional. This foundation underlies the physical bond. When and if the physical bond is deminished the foundation still stands. There is hope.
    What better way to approach this little understood, rarely talked about issue than through humor!
    Great work!

  5. Bobbi permalink
    July 7, 2010 11:01 pm

    Cris, I have watched you day in/day out since you fell into the depths of Lyme’s devastations. It crippled and exhausted parts of your body, confused aspects of your thinking, suffocated and tortured you with horrendous pain….but it never stole your sole and spirit to rise again. Yes, in the midst of the acute phase of Lyme’s, much of YOU got temporarily buried. The ‘libido’ that was dark and evasive looks brighter and hopeful now. The artistic, creative parts of Cris are blossoming with the summer foliage…and it is delightful to behold. Chronic illness wreaks havoc with so many aspects of the human body. The ‘invader’ in Lyme’s disease knows no boundaries. It is only with the human spirit and the inner sactum of hope and sheer will that change happens. I know it will not be easy…. the ‘culprit’ of Lyme’s will not make it easy for you…but….I also see the rising in you and that makes my heart happy. May the multi-faceted libido live on:)

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