The Women's Journal

Level Up

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By Heather Love

Exactly a year ago, I was sitting in Dr. John Aucott’s office at the John Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center. I had waited for years to get an appointment and I was confident that Dr. Aucott and his team would be able to fix me. Instead, I was told that I had Post Chronic Lyme Disease and that I would never get better and that they could only help manage my symptoms. For two hours, my husband and I listened as Dr. Aucott explained how I had done everything right and that I was forever sick. He told us that I would never return to my kitchen and that I needed to find acceptance.  

I think I was in shock as we walked outside to our car. I remember eating lunch and talking about the appointment, but those memories are fuzzy and distorted. It was like my entire life plan and my entire life was flashing in my mind. All my hopes, dreams, and career plans were dying in rapid order. On that car ride home from Baltimore, I accepted my reality and I started a new chapter.  

Last May, I published my first article concerning my Lyme journey. I thought I had accepted my new normal and I thought I had a solid game plan for my future. My appointment put everything into focus for the first time in fifteen years. For the first time in my life, I lost, and I lost big. For the first time, I couldn’t fix something. Nothing can change the way my body is reacting to Lyme and for some random reason, I’m a tick magnet. To say that I have learned a lot about myself and Lyme this past year is an understatement. I learned I had an undiagnosed bite sometime in 2018. And, I had two additional Lyme rashes while undergoing treatment.  

I was encouraged to “believe in the resiliency of your mind, body and spirit” in the brochure from John Hopkins. I must remember that our bodies and our minds are capable. Sure, my mind and body are different, but they are still capable and enough for me at this moment in time. By embracing the truth of my disease, I can find a new normal and I can have a full and meaningful life, just not the life I had planned. 

Right now, everyone on the planet is with me in that car ride home and experiencing the same questions I have struggled with this past year. We are all having to reevaluate our life and our priorities. We are all confronted with the limits of our bodies and that’s scary. We are all learning a new normal, and it’s overwhelming at times.  

I’ve been adjusting to a new normal for a year. I’ve spent most of that time crying and trying. I keep putting one foot in front of the other, falling, crying for a bit, and then I keep standing back up. I stand back up because I draw on strength from my customers and my community. I watch everyone keep showing up and everyone fighting for their futures.  

Fighting for our dreams is what we have done every time we are confronted with something like this. Right now, we are learning the value of compassion from strangers when they wear their uncomfortable masks, and we are learning our capacity for love when we stay away from our family and friends. Remember, we have extraordinary resiliency. Together, we will gather accurate information, we will adjust to our new normal, and we will level up.  


Purchased in 2007, the Love family (Marcus, Heather, and Marcus) has pushed the limits of their 49-seat sandwich café. Hopefully, they will be expanding soon. Stop by for some goodies, call 302-836-3365 or visit   www.whereaboutsCafé.com.

Publisher’s Note

“We love Whereabouts Café catering! Heather always makes it fun and easy to plan a menu that is perfect for our family and friends, even with lots of dietary restrictions. Everyone always raves about the food and it always makes the event go so smoothly. Plus, I’m always impressed with the affordable price! Thank you Whereabouts!” ~ H.K.