“Onward: How Starbucks Fought for It’s Life without Losing Its Soul” is a book by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. Did you enjoy this read, Borrelia? I certainly did. Mr. Schultz bought Starbucks in 1987 and lead the company through 2000, when he stepped down as CEO after a very successful and profitable reign. In the seven years that followed, Starbucks lost itself. Lost its identity, vision, core philosophy and path. Fixated on profits and growth rather than customers and products. Onward describes this downfall as well as its rise again when Schultz returned as CEO  in 2007  with the task of rebranding Starbucks. Rebranding and helping it finds its soul again.

Redesigned logo used from 2011-present.

Redesigned logo used from 2011-present. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This book spoke to me on so many levels, Borrelia. Especially as a business manager, always striving to improve my leadership skills. And always trying to improve the brand, while preserving the core philosophy. But it also spoke to me as the lyme whisperer. “Onward”. With you, Borrelia, we lymies must always push and fight onward. We must always fight without losing our soul. Having suffered with lyme for almost three years now, I feel I most certainly have rebranded myself. Really rebranded myself. Out of necessity. Sometimes I wonder if I was meant to meet you, Borrelia, for the very fact that it made me grow as a person and take on this rebranding.

Just as Schultz  left Starbucks as CEO, I feel that I had to leave my former self behind. Only when I realized that I would probably never quite be my former self again because of lyme, was I able to step back in and return with a new outlook. A new mission to rebrand myself. Again, in the way Schultz returned to Starbucks.  What follows is a look at how you, Borrelia,  have forced me to rebrand myself. Before, I was a Mom. Manager. Athlete. Who am I, today?

I am an Actress. You cannot see the pain. But make no mistake, it tortures my muscles, my nerves and my body, all of it. I cry when you are not looking. I smile when you are. I can yell “action” and put on a brave face. But when it’s time to “cut” I just might fall to the floor. I did not ask for this pain, Borrelia. But I will ask, I will beg, for someone to take it away. And that won’t be an act.

I am a Firefighter. I must put out fires, all over my body. New symptoms that pop up everywhere. At any time.

I am an Herbalist. Learning more about antimicrobial herbs and treatments than my education as a biochemist and Certified Nutritionist would have every taught me.

I am a Pharmacist. No one should have to know what we lymies must come to know and learn about antibiotics, Borrelia.

I am a Dancer. Because movement moves me. It brings me joy and peace of mind.  I love the feeling of moving my knees and back through the pain, I do. And of having toned and strong muscles. I dance because it’s fun and upbeat and a workout.  I dance despite you and in spite of you, Borrelia,  and that motivates me most of all.

I am an Iron Chef. Time and energy are scarce, but I can make a nutrient dense meal in seconds, I have to. And I ‘ve gotten quite good at making the most of what I have time and energy for as well as what my stomach will tolerate.  And by meal I might sometimes mean a blend of veggies, fruit and protein in the Vitamix. That counts, Borrelia, it does.

I am a Fundraiser. Because no one should suffer. I don’t care what you are suffering from, I am motivated to support you. I understand what it is like to have your health taken away. Your sense of invincibility shattered.. I understand what it is like to be sick. And to have treatments. And I want to help you. If there was a 5K for it, I probably  ran for it and contributed to it 🙂

I am a Coach. Because time with my kids is precious, and it can be so very hard to be present for them when not feeling well. So when I can be, it needs to count. If that means being the batting order coach for a team of fifteen four  and five year olds, so be it. I’m there.

I am a Follower. Faith takes on new meaning when it is challenged. And when you become so desperate, Borrelia, that you beg your god for help. I take comfort in the mediation of church, in the music, in the stories, in the people.  And I appreciate all of it more than I did before. I also feel at times, that god did want me to experience this for a reason. To grow from it, to be humbled and redirected.

I am a Blogger. Lyme has given me the need to express myself. And to connect. And to reach out. And to have a creative outlet. I am so thankful for the opportunity, it has been one of the most rewarding “rebranding” initiatives I have undertaken.

Bust most of all, Borrelia…most of all…I am the CEO of my body. And my life. For all the reasons above. That makes me the CEO, not you.. In fact, not just the C-E-O. But the C-Me-O. I am in charge of me. I have rebranded myself because of you and I am stronger for it. It’s Onward from here, Borrelia. Onward. I will fight for my life, without losing my soul. Even if I feel that I have lost my former self. Onward I go.