It’s been 5 years since I was bit by tiny ticks which infected me with Lyme bacteria. Like the hundreds of thousands of people who get Lyme disease each year, it changed my life radically.
For several months, just like Avril Levigne, I felt like I was dying.
I went from being a healthy and active young mom to 4, to being barely able to walk a few yards to my mailbox. Everyday tasks such as taking a shower and getting dressed became incredibly difficult.
And it all happened so fast.
I realized I had taken my good health for granted, something I’ll not do again.
I was soon able to empathize with friends and family who also were dealing with chronic pain and chronic illness.
Because now I was living it too.
The multiple doctors and specialists I went to couldn’t figure out what was causing my rapidly deteriorating symptoms.
Because of this, I was untreated for 18 very long months.
What Is Lyme Disease Anyway?
When Lyme bacteria, or Borrelia Burgdorferi, has free rein over your body for this long without being treated the damage can cause destruction to every organ and system in the body. This includes the heart, brain, neurological and immune systems.
Lyme is called “the great imitator”. This is because the symptoms are like so many other diseases and conditions. These include Multiple Sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome, and many others.
I repeatedly asked the doctors if my illness could be due to the tick bites I got at my home after being in the tall grasslands and forest area behind our house. I became extremely sick shortly after discovering the ticks and thought this was something that should definitely be investigated.
My Lyme diagnosis came much later.
“You Can’t Get Lyme Disease In Missouri.”
Unfortunately, I was told, “You can’t get Lyme disease in Missouri.”
At the time, I was naive to believe that doctors are usually right. Of course, like the rest of us, they are only human.
And, out of necessity, I’ve learned how to advocate for myself as a patient.
I started doing my homework.
And asking the right questions.
The teacher in me. And the life-long learner that I am…It didn’t take long to figure out that, in this case, a wait and see approach was not appropriate.
With Lyme disease it never is.
I persisted in my quest for answers. Finally, the proper tests were given that proved they were tragically wrong.
You can indeed get Lyme disease in Missouri. And I had it.
Suffering With Lyme Disease, YouTube & Forgiveness
I did in fact have Lyme and another potentially deadly tick-borne illness, tularemia.
Since then I have met many caring physicians who are indignant when they hear I was given the run around for so long without proper treatment, especially when the doctors knew I was bitten by ticks and my health continued to go downhill so quickly.
At the time, my primary care physician simply told me that I had “tick fever”. (I was never clear about what that is.)
Later, I returned to this doctor because I wasn’t getting better. I was, in fact, getting much worse. He said I looked stressed (perhaps from the constant pain and insomnia?).
Then he suggested I watch a youtube video about the benefits of walking.
In my naivety, and my strong desire to do everything possible to get healthy, I did as he instructed. Unfortunately, I was unable to walk further than my driveway due to severe air hunger, heart palpitations and extreme weakness and fatigue….all symptoms of Lyme disease!
I don’t believe these doctors meant to harm me even though going so long without a diagnosis did just that. I believe they wanted to help me and were doing the best they knew how with the knowledge and tools they had.
Although I’ve had to work through some difficult and strong feelings like people sometimes do in life, I have no ill will towards them. (For more on this, please feel free to check out The Shocking Truth About Forgiveness And Your Health.)
I do, however, hope that these doctors (and all medical professionals) make concerted efforts to learn more and keep up on the latest about Lyme disease so others don’t have to suffer needlessly too.
If this happened to me it could happen to you or to your loved ones. And I would never wish this horrible disease on anyone! That’s why it’s important to me to share with you to help prevent other people from going through what I, and thousands of others, have.
Finding A New Normal After Lyme Disease
Although life is very different for me now, I’m finding a new normal and constantly working to learn more and become as healthy as possible.
I’m thankful for a supportive family and friends.
In some ways life is actually better because I’ve learned to slow down and bask in the moment. Whereas before I was always multitasking, running from one event to the next.
I’m learning to live in the moment. 🙂
Although I lived a pretty healthy life before, I’m much more conscious of making healthy choices now.
I’m more in touch with my body now. I (usually) don’t push past my limits like I used to. (Bad habits are hard to break.)
I also try to better deal with stress in my life instead of ignoring it.
Healing has been a gradual process. But I’m thankful for every gain and positive change that has occurred.
I’m not well, but I’m stronger than I was a year ago. And that’s definitely a positive in my book!
Suffering with Lyme disease, then finally getting a diagnosis has been a prolonged and painful process. But God has brought me through and strengthened me through the suffering and trials, and He can do the same for you.
If you have a chronic illness, don’t give up!
You might like to read the following for help and encouragement if you or someone you love has a chronic illness:
- 7 Tips For Coping With Chronic Illness
- Best Superfoods For Spoonies: Chronic Illness Symptom Relief
- Spring Break Adventures With The Family And Tips For Traveling With Chronic Illness
- Chronic Illness: What’s A Spoonie Anyway?
Do you have a chronic illness? Can you relate? What tips can you share to help others?
Please share your comments and questions below in the comment section. I love hearing from you!