Libbie the Lobster

To purchase the children's book "Saving Libbie the Lobster" go to

One of the Worst Things I Have Ever Done


One of the worst things I have done in my life was to buy into the idea that I was sick– physically and emotionally. In the year 2004, I was diagnosed with hepatitis C and emphysema. I was 53 years old and working in a career that I loved for only a few years. I knew how I acquired those illnesses of course and blamed only myself. My previous life in the underworld of addiction hell, brought with it those devastating consequences. Testing showed that I had the worst kind of hepatitis C (genotype 1a) and had only 1/4 of the lung capacity I should have had.

Having worked hard in college for six years, completing graduate school with the highest honors, I looked forward to a long career in a field that I had been all too familiar with–addiction and mental illness treatment. But my best laid plans came to a screeching halt. I thought my life would never be the same. I struggled to breathe, got sick often and experienced flu-like symptoms most of the time. Until I was diagnosed by the doctors, I had been able to work through it, albeit not easily. I had never questioned doctors’ diagnoses and treatment before that time, why would I have done it then? When they told me I would progressively get worse, I, like many people, gave in and gave up.

I soon found myself living alone in a small apartment, tethered to an oxygen machine, giving myself shots of interferon and taking a plethora of other medications. I took on the sick roll well. Depression and shame replaced excitement and hope for a bright future. No longer able to work and steadily gaining weight added to my new self image of a helpless victim. The time came when I could no longer care for myself. I was at death’s door and welcomed the relief it would bring.

One day my sister came to visit and saw my condition. She packed me up and took me to her home some distance away. I found myself living in a room without any control over my life. I learned later that the doctors treating me believed I would not live past two weeks. The hepatitis C was beginning to ravish my body and I felt sick all the time. I was on machines day and night to breathe.

But through it all, there was a ray of hope. Deep within me was the knowledge that I had been in this state complete despair once before when I had hit a bottom from addiction. I began to go without oxygen for a few moments at a time, then a half hour, then an hour. No one knew that I was more willing to die than to live that way any longer. I began to decline foods I considered bad for my health and joined a gym. Feeling embarrassed to be in a gym, overweight and carrying an oxygen tank, I forged on. 10353577_874254112615079_8955753878119279813_n

I had woken up one morning and said, “I don’t want to live like this anymore!” So I changed. Anyone who knew me then, is shocked and amazed at my health and vitality today. My doctors (on the rare occasion I need doctors) like to tell me how sick I was when I first arrived in their offices.

No longer on oxygen and cured of hepatitis C (as of this summer), I live in an apartment that feels like a castle at the beach and I just published a book. I am honored and humbled to have many wonderful friends. Sometimes I think that if my life gets any better than this, I don’t know if I can handle it.

I know I am not special. Many people overcome more horrible things every day. Through all of this, I have learned that my story is meant to help others, to bring perhaps a ray of hope that change is possible. I trusted my heart and changed my life. When it comes down to that very moment of asking, “Do I want to live or die,” is when things can change.

I hope you enjoyed my story. Feel free to comment and share with others.




Author: Libbie The Lobster

I am a writer and a co-author of the children's book, Saving Libbie the Lobster, with Heather Chalmers. Our story is based on the true adventure of how we rescued a rare yellow lobster from our local supermarket.

9 thoughts on “One of the Worst Things I Have Ever Done

  1. That’s the spirit Marybeth. Championing an illness and fighting to get your life back is something to be proud of, and shouldn’t be hidden away, but shouted from the roof tops. When I got my senses back after surgery, it was still a shock looking down and not seeing the bedclothes making the same lump as my other leg. The fight to climb the stairs from the dark place was on, but I made it. Private message me sometime, and I’ll shoot you a link to my essay, ‘Depression and the 80% Solution’ and you can give me a professionals opinion.


    • Wow Lockie! Thank you. I would love to read your essay! I am usually a little cautious of writing about my personal story in my blogs on a page about our children’s book. When I get time, I will start a separate blog which will be called “The tattoo Vegan Hippie Woman” or something like that. I am sending you a message presently on Facebook so you can send me the link. I am honored that you asked.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Marybeth. I had no idea. I’m so proud of you. You are an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on The Transparent Author and commented:
    Wow! Just wow. A friend of mine wrote this. One amazing lady.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an inspiring story. I keep using my bipolar meds as an excuse for my weight gain, weight gain as an excuse for my bad self image and bad self image as an excuse for the depression that comes from living like a recluse for the past couple of years. Time to do something about this cycle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! I can relate to what you’re saying. It is a vicious cycle isn’t it? People who have read or heard my story about this part of my life seem to think I have some amazing will power or a rare survival instinct. I find that interesting because to me, I seem to let myself get so far down that there is no way out. The inner discontent, shame and pain of living has to become so great that only then will I do something. I daresay that I think I’m getting better about that. My desire to never feel that helpless and hopeless again keeps me going to the gym even when I don’t want to and eating a healthy diet even when I’d rather not. My comeback to health began with one small step. If I could do it anyone can. I hope you will do it too. All things that we can imagine are possible. I’d love to hear how your doing. You can follow me on Facebook if you’d like.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This is inspirational and badly needed for many people. When the multiple sclerosis MonSter turned my life upside down, I spent the first three years doing nothing but focusing on my disease and learning everything I could about it, almost to the point of obsession. One day, it occurred to me…while I was focusing on a disease, life was passing me by. I was tired of thinking of nothing else. That’s when I unleashed my God-given writing talent that had lain dormant for most of my life because, as the say, ‘Life happened.’ When my focus went elsewhere, I gained physical strength. I learned from experience that being happy is a wonderful way to be healthier. I focus on my mental health now and my physical health is reaping some of the rewards. I’m still a sick person, but I no longer think like one and that has made all the difference. I refuse to allow my disease to dominate my thinking. I’m too busy being happy to allow that to happen again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much Becky. You and I certainly have this in common. You are right. Many people do need to know about the strength of the human spirit to find a way to not just survive but to learn and grow from the experience. I’m glad to know you.

      Liked by 1 person

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