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Chronic Disease Doesn’t Quash a Dream

After being diagnosed with Lyme disease, Pastor Greg Kaufmann could have put his mountain climbing dreams on hold. He didn’t.




Pastor Greg Kaufmann
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
September 2017

My two adult children and I used to climb 14ers (mountains in Colorado above 14,000 feet). Years ago I recall sharing with them that my goal was to do a three-generation climb of a 14er when my first grandchild turned 10 and I was over 65. Then in 2011, I contracted Lyme disease. Because it wasn’t diagnosed for several months, I wasn’t able to get rid of it with the usual treatment of antibiotics — which meant symptoms of the disease would remain with me for the rest of my life. I feared that goal would never be reached.

Well, I’m just back from two weeks of vacation, which included a week camping near Breckenridge, Colo., with our son, daughter, and their families. And the big news is that I accomplished what I had thought would never happen: a three-generation climb of a 14er! After five hours of slowly making our way up to the summit of the 12th tallest mountain in Colorado, we stood on the peak and looked out across the top of the world. We had 45 minutes to enjoy the views before spending 3-½ hours coming down to beat the afternoon thunderstorms that always roll in. It was a great day indeed, especially after learning to live with Lyme disease these past six years.

What made it possible? The encouragement I’ve received from friends and family, and all of the health tips that have been shared through Portico’s GO! and Live Well Challenges. In particular, participating in Portico’s Journey of Renewal helped shape the way I handle stress, the foods I choose to eat or avoid, the intentional time spent with loved ones, and the commitment to develop better sleep habits and make time for exercise. I have learned to adapt my lifestyle and have lived life fully with the disease.

I am a very happy camper indeed.


Greg with his son, grandson, and daughter.


A very happy climber.


Editor’s note: If Greg’s story sounds familiar, perhaps you’re one of the 9,000+ people who watched Greg and his wife Diane’s story featured in Portico’s 2014 GO! Challenge video. Thanks, Greg, for sharing this fantastic update!

Watch the 6-minute video

This submission describes a personal perspective and may or may not reflect the experience of others.

email Share your Wellness Voice at livewell@porticobenefits.org

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