What does one consider a challenge for a 23 year old? Peyton Leonard will tell you her story and teach you a lesson in strength from religious beliefs.
Cindy Kennedy MS,FNP-BC
Living with Lyme disease as a 23-going-on-24 year old woman can be very challenging. My day is mostly spent at home, unless I have a church meeting I have to go to. Sometimes I can’t even make it to the meetings because of my health. Lately, I have been working with my dad and networking on LinkedIn. I’m currently in school for an English degree. I’ve been taking it slow with exams and everything. My goal is to graduate by the end of 2018, but we’ll see how things go. I usually take a nap some time during the day because of fatigue. If I’m in the mood for it, I’ll play piano and sing one of my originals. I was diagnosed with Lyme when I was 19 and have gone through a hellish journey with this debilitating disease. My current symptoms are neuropathy throughout my body, joint pain and swelling, sciatic pain down my right leg, brain fog, mental and physical fatigue, and muscle aches. Every now and then I’ll get heart palpitations so I’m keeping an eye on that. But it hasn’t been all bad. Some days are better than others, especially now that I take gabapentin for the pain. I also take Cymbalta for depression and neuropathy, Abilify for hallucinations from borderline personality disorder, and I take a probiotic called Culturelle. I’ve been working on drinking more fluids and I think it’s been helping me lose weight and helping ease my joint pain. Since getting on gabapentin, I’ve been able to travel with friends from church and meet new Christians. I’m so grateful for my brothers and sisters in the church and their friendships. They have really rallied around me and encouraged me through this difficult time. I’ve joined a lot of support groups on Facebook and have been able to share my faith with many people. I feel very grateful for my parents, whom I live with, and their undying, selfless support. Despite having Lyme, depression, bipolar disease, a porn addiction (was introduced to pornography when I was six), and so much more, I still have a hopeful and bright future ahead of me. I am a published author with a sci-fi novel on the way and a professionally trained singer that will be recording some originals this year with my Grammy nominated coach. Before getting sick, my goals were to become a singer, author, actress, and composer. I feel like God has opened doors for me to be able to pursue my dreams. I’m working on partnering with Lyme organizations to bring more awareness. God has taught me so much about His love and compassion through my suffering. I don’t regret having Lyme and I’m not going to let it destroy my life. It almost had in the past. I felt like I had lost so much time because of this disease. A scripture in Proverbs comes to mind: “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.” Likewise, I feel that nothing can thwart the plans of God, not even Lyme disease. My name is Peyton Leonard and I’m proud to be a Lymie.
For more information about my story, check out my book on Amazon: Lyme & Not the Fruit!