The view from atop the Polar Express

The view from atop the Polar Express

I awoke on November 9th to a beautiful, sunny, crisp morning. By 6 a.m., I was rushing out the door, bundled up with a jacket and scarf. From New Hampshire, I drove to Alewife station, a subway station a few miles outside of Boston. It was finally here…The Lyme Disease and Tick Borne Illness Community Conference. I had registered weeks earlier and had been awaiting with Christmas-like anticipation. What would speakers including Dr. Horowitz reveal? What would be uncovered? Unwrapped?

I boarded the subway to take me the rest of the way to Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital where the conference was being held. The train was warm and quiet. I was in the company of only 2 or 3 others. The rhythmic chug and grind made me realize a journey had been set in motion. A journey, filled with both excitement and uncertainty. And at the northern most corner of possibility…maybe even hope would be found. I felt like I had stepped aboard…the Polar Express.

For the last few years, it seems as though I had been holding a one way ticket to Destination Chronic Lyme. The bell had stopped ringing at times. Just as it did for the nameless boy in the movie when he had questioned his belief in Santa. When the belief was gone, and the hope was gone, the bell no longer rang. At times, I no longer heard the bell ring either. Hope and belief in magical outcomes were gone.

I almost didn’t take the train that day. It had been an exhausting work week. My son had a hockey game that afternoon. And I would be dining with friends later that night. Could I fit this in? Did I have the energy for it? But something told me I had to. In the movie when the boy hesitates to board the train, the conductor tells him the train is headed North, and that it was “the year to board it”. Something was telling me to board that train, even if it was only my internal conductor–my inner voice. There was something for me at the other end.

Would my trip on this Polar Express be an analogy of life with lyme? Would I be lead on a wild chase atop the train’s roof, with an elusive ticket blowing in the wind? Was it my ticket back to health? Would I meet kind-hearted strangers along the way? Like the hobo camped out on the train’s rooftop that kindly reminds the doubtful boy that “seeing is believing”? Would I narrowly escape slamming into Flattop Tunnel, blind-sided by a lyme set back? Would the train derail and accelerate dangerously out of control, as lyme derails all of us at times, leading to a chaotic and frantic scene as happened at Glacier Gulch? My mind was racing until the chug and grind came to a sudden halt and the conductor announced the stop: Massachusetts General Hospital…

Polar Express Tickets

Polar Express Tickets