I could predict this was going to happen faster than I could predict my third quarter results… But first…

...Bacon-wrapped scallops. With The Board of Directors. Comprised of highest level executives from around the country and internationally. There would be wine and prime rib. Small talk about families and summers. Big talk about industry and trends. And a long, late night commute home. And then the next day…

The board presentation. For almost two months, I had been working in overdrive to create and deliver a most winning presentation about what my brand stands for. It’s history, vision, strategies, performance and legacy…told as a story unfolding before them. I had gotten tips on how to create an unforgettable presentation from reading about the best of TED Talks. And now an intimidating board was captivated. My adrenaline fueled my passion. My passion fueled more adrenaline. Future investments in my company and in me were all at stake.  I put my hand over my heart as I made my closing remarks, for love of my brand and the difference we make in people’s lives. The room erupted with “wows” and “wonderfuls.” I had delivered.

I thought about the months leading up to that day, that moment. Weeks of late night obsessing and fine tuning and editing and formatting. Only to awaken in the wee hours of the morning to obsess and fine tune some more, leaving myself with little more than five hours of sleep. Followed by hours upon hours of rehearsing. In front of the mirror, in the shower, in the car. I was elated and exhausted. But it had all been worth it.  And did I mention it was…

Back-to-School Week. A middle schooler starting at a new school, with soccer tryouts to boot. What time did school end? What time was soccer practice and where? Could he take the heat? Would I be there to pick him up on time? Would he take the bus home? How would he get in touch with me? What about his sister? Would she like her third grade teacher? Would I pick her up at her school before her brother or after? Should I sign her up for cross country? Too many questions I couldn’t answer and  too many worries I couldn’t silence in my head. But it all worked out, and we had much to celebrate between the board presentation and surviving the first week of classes so we headed to New York…

.For a broadway show. Mamma Mia,  in one of it’s final showings. The voices were brilliant, the people beautiful and the platform boots and bodacious dancing did not disappoint. Nor did the hours we spent walking around Rockefeller Center and Times Square, exploring some of the largest Toys R Us and M&M stores in the world. It was another late night and another early morning making our way back to Penn Station. On the four hour train ride home, the kids played video games  while I took out my iPad Mini and started to work on my…

Business Plan and Budget for 2016. After all the effort and stress that had gone into the board meeting, I could barely believe the cruel reality of now having to gear up for the intense and blood pressure spiking season known as Business Planning and Budgeting–an exhaustive though crucial exercise in strategic planning and number crunching for next year’s plan. Back to staying up too late and  getting up too early working away. And refusing to give up my 5am workouts despite it all. Which is why beyond a shadow of a doubt I was about to come face to face with…

Borrelia. It started with”stars” in the corner of my left eye, making my peripheral vision fuzzy. I looked at the clock on my car’s dashboard and couldn’t see all the numbers. I looked at the speedometer and could not see the left half. At the same time, the rain was pounding on the windshield and sliding down like angry, squiggling worms. I just wanted it to stop and felt like I was being attacked.  I opened the driver’s side window and looked in the side rear view mirror, which was not being pelted by the rain, and felt a short burst of relief and comfort. But the fuzzies and stars were closing in and I was fighting to keep from going dark all together. Not to mention fighting to keep control of my car on the highway.

As I often do when I start to panic, I reached for something to eat or drink. For some reason, I think it will help me to “come to” and “snap out of it.” I frantically reached for the Go Raw pumpkin seed bar  in my lap top bag and the can of open day-old flat seltzer water in the caddy. I took a bite and chewed and chewed and chewed. The food wasn’t going anywhere. It was just a glob in my mouth. Why wasn’t it going down? I don’t remember throwing the wrapper on the floor. Or the can. I do remember slapping my leg. Hard. Over and over again. Saying No! No! No! “No!” I always think “This will NOT happen to my kids! I will not let whatever is happening take over me. I WILL be home tonite and I WILL be fine!” I turned the radio as loud as I could. I don’t know why. Another way to try to pull myself “back in”. I am a very defiant person and when I’m trapped in these moments I often just think if I ignore what’s happening it will go away. So I started to just sing along to the blaring music. And look out the side view mirror, and hit myself. And say no no no. And finally by the grace of God, I pulled out of it. The strike of an attack so forceful that I felt as if I had been excised from weeks and months of stored up, evil panic. I was exhausted, weak and shaken…

But was I really surprised? No. I knew something was going to give. The stress of the board meetings. The toll mentally and physically of work, workouts, school and play in those last few weeks and months. I know I push myself to the limit. I know I do. But I guess I’d rather push myself to the limit than feel that I’m being limited by Borrelia. Would I go back and not work so hard on my board presentation? Not attend the work dinners? Not be there for my kids practices and games? Pass up the chance to see Mamma Mia live on Broadway? Nope. I’d do it all over again. That’s the choice I make, for right or for wrong. To push myself to the limit and experience all that I can, despite Borrelia watching my every move. And waiting. Waiting to make hers. Like this week. When sensory and neurological overload and fatigue opened the door to a suffocating panic attack, with Borrelia as the master board room director behind it all however…

…Bend I may, but break I will not, Borrelia. I will go back to the board room. You can go back to the drawing board. Because I’m still the director of me.

If only boardrooms were this

If only boardrooms were this “peaceful” and “serene”!