Undiagnosed And Suffering With Lyme Disease: I Felt Like I Was Dying

suffering with Lyme

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.”

suffering with Lyme
Lyme disease has been reported in all 50 states.

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

suffering with Lyme
Making healthy choices, managing stressors and listening to your body can help you deal with chronic illness.

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!

The Takeaway

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!


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!


 You might like to read the following for help and encouragement if you or someone you love has a chronic illness:

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Best Superfoods For Spoonies: Chronic Illness Symptom Relief

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Living with a chronic illness is a struggle, all the more so when the illness is not physically evident. Some people assume you’re perfectly healthy when, in fact, seemingly mundane tasks are hard to fulfill.

People living with chronic illnesses (known casually as ‘spoonies’ in a term coined by lupus sufferer Christine Miserandino, who established the Spoon Theory to communicate an understanding of what her life is like) will draw upon medically prescribed treatments to help with their condition.

The Best Superfoods for Spoonies

They may also seek natural remedies, such as superfoods. These superfoods such as garlic, turmeric, ginger and salmon can provide much-welcome relief to symptoms of chronic illnesses.

Most of them contain anti-inflammatory ingredients which relieve pain and help to prevent cancer, while some are beneficial in terms of stabilizing cholesterol levels. Indeed, the consumption of salmon can even help to fight against feelings of depression. Depression is a hidden illness which can often be experienced by people suffering from other chronic illnesses.

The infographic below from Burning Nights identifies seven of the best superfoods for spoonies and deals specifically with five common hidden illnesses, highlighting the best and worst foods for those concerned.

A person living with a chronic illness is likely to grasp at any remedy which can relieve feelings of pain. Consequently, these superfoods could make their condition easier to endure.

Read below to find out more.

best superfoods
Superfoods For Spoonies (courtesy Burning Nights)

I want to express a big thank you to Victoria Abbott-Fleming who is the founder of the chronic pain charity, Burning Nights, for sharing this excellent information and the visual featured above. Also, you can visit her website at Burning Nights.

The Takeaway

Eating superfoods such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, berries and grapes, olive oil, hot peppers and salmon can have amazing healing benefits for people with chronic illness. As a result, the best superfoods are an excellent substitute to pharmaceutical drugs for anyone who favors natural remedies and solutions to chronic pain.

Consequently, I can tell you from personal experience these superfoods really work!

Along with other healthy choices a few months ago I started taking turmeric curcumin daily. As a result, I’ve been able to stop taking two medications I was taking daily for chronic pain from chronic Lyme disease symptoms.

Please note, don’t ever stop taking medications without talking to your doctor first. 


Do you or someone you love have a chronic illness? Have you tried any of these superfoods? Please share your comments in the comment section below. I love hearing from you! 


If you liked this, you may want to check out:

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Email — healthylife@lorigeurin.com

This post contains affiliate links. And you can read our Affiliate Policy here.

Finally, the information provided in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is not intended to treat, prevent, diagnose or cure any disease or health problem.


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The Signs, Symptoms And Stages Of Lyme Disease

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Lyme disease continues to be a hot topic in the news, likely because it is increasing at an alarming rate due to climate changes and other factors.

Between 2004 and 2009 reported cases of Lyme disease rose 94%.

And the number of cases continue to rise today.

Fortunately, people are starting to take notice of this disturbing trend.

But, if Lyme disease continues to spread, often unrecognized and untreated, it won’t take long before everyone either knows someone who has it, or they have it themself.

Lyme is now much more common than AIDS, West Nile Virus, and other vector-borne illnesses.

Knowing what to look out for is crucial.

I’ve been living with late-stage chronic Lyme for the past 5 years. I don’t want anyone to have to go through this horrible illness and believe prevention is essential.

I’m going to share the signs, symptoms, and stages of Lyme disease below so you know what to watch for. I truly hope this will help you protect yourself and your loved ones.

signs, symptoms and stages of Lyme diseaseSigns Symptoms And Stages Of Lyme Disease

1. Early Localized Lyme Disease (1 to 4 weeks)

This stage can develop from days to weeks after becoming infected.

Symptoms may include:

  • Rashes – Less that 50% of Lyme patients remember developing a rash. Sometimes the rash looks like a bulls-eye. This is referred to as erythema migrans (EM). It is a myth that you must  have this rash to have Lyme disease (1). I did not ever see a bull-eye rash, but have developed a number of unusual red and splotchy rashes since the tick bites (for more on rashes, keep reading below).
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as fever and chills, fatigue, headache, pain or stiffness in the neck and swollen lymph nodes (2).
  • Nausea, dizziness and vomiting

Stage 2: Early Disseminated Lyme Disease Infection (1 to 4 months)

This stage develops when the disease is not found and/or treated properly soon after infection. At this point the infection can begin to affect the joints, heart, nervous system and skin.

Symptoms may include:

  • More rashes that start to appear in different parts of the body due to the infection spreading
  • Paralysis of the facial muscles, or Bell’s Palsy
  • Fainting
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Painful, swollen joints, such as the knees
  • Heart palpitations or Lyme carditis
  • Conjunctivitis, or pink eye
  • Meningitis – swelling of the brain

Stage 3: Late Persistent Lyme Disease, Or Chronic Lyme

Failure to treat Lyme promptly can cause damage to the brain, joints and nervous system. This is the most serious stage.

Symptoms may include:

  • Extreme exhaustion which is not relieved by sleeping or resting
  • Inability to control facial muscles
  • Heart problems, such as pericarditis
  • Tingling and numbness of the hands and feet
  • Arthritis, often in the larger joints, such as the knees
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Confusionsigns symptoms and stages of Lyme disease
  • Difficulty thinking or reasoning
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Getting lost, even in familiar areas
  • Anxiety, panic attacks
  • Seizures
  • Tremor
  • Sensitivity to sound, light and smells
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Mood swings, depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Migrating joint and muscle pain
  • Vertigo
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Vision difficulties
  • Weight gain or loss
  • “Air hunger”
  • Pain in the chest or ribs
  • “Heart block”
  • Neck pain, stiffness and cracking
  • Night sweats
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Heart murmur or valve prolapse
  • Light-headedness, dizziness
  • Menstrual irregularity

The Takeaway

This list of signs, symptoms and stages of Lyme disease is not exhaustive. I’ve talked to a lot of people with Lyme and many of our symptoms are similar, but others are different.

My friend, if you are struggling with an illness and the doctors have been unable to help you, you may want to consider this list to help you rule out (or in) Lyme disease, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors or live in a tick-infested area.

And of course, if you know you’ve been bit by a tick, mosquito, etc and aren’t feeling well, please get yourself checked out immediately.

Here is a list of doctors who specialize in treating Lyme patients. I would highly recommend starting here.


Do you have any of these symptoms? Or do you have an unexplained illness and can’t seem to get answers?

Please share your comments below in the comment section. I love hearing from you!


For more on Lyme disease, you may want to check out:

Connect With Me Below:

Pinterest — /LoriGeurin
Facebook — /LoriGeurinBlog
Twitter — @LoriGeurin
Instagram — @LoriGeurin
Bloglovin — lorigeurin
Email — healthylife@lorigeurin.com

This post contains affiliate links. You can read our Affiliate Policy here.

Finally, the information provided in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat, prevent, diagnose or cure any disease or health problem.


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7 Tips For Coping With Chronic Illness

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This article was originally published on GriefLossHope.com, a website dedicated to sharing stories of grief and loss and giving hope and encouragement to help others who are going through similar situations.

Having a chronic illness can impact your life in countless ways. The life you knew before your illness may seem like a distant memory, especially when you’re dealing with many symptoms and concerns.

You could be in constant pain and unable to get a good night’s sleep. You might have to quit your job and suffer financial problems.

Your appearance may change. Or you may look the same, making it even harder to explain your illness to the outside world. Your interpersonal relationships can change, when suddenly your spouse or loved one takes on the roll of caregiver.

All of these changes can cause stress and strong feelings of anxiety, fear and anger. Many people feel a lack of control and uncertainty about the future.

According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics a chronic disease lasts more than 3 months, cannot be prevented by a vaccine or cured by medicine, and does not disappear.

I have learned first hand what it’s like to have a chronic illness, beginning in the spring of 2012.

My Journey From Health To Chronic Illness

Before the illness I was healthy and active, a wife to my wonderful husband, mom to four amazing kids, teaching Special Education full-time at a local public school.

But, then I was bit by 2 tiny ticks and everything changed.

I initially became so sick with a mind-numbing headache and crippling nausea that I was in bed several days trying to recover. I was so weak I could barely walk. My coloring was pale and ashen. It felt like the worst case of the flu I’d ever experienced. I was so out of it that I don’t remember much from those few days.

Unexplained Symptoms

When I had recovered enough to go to the doctor I asked him about Lyme disease. At this time I didn’t know much about it, other than it was a tick-borne illness.

The doctor asked if I’d traveled to the northeastern United States, but the furthest I’d been that direction was North Carolina. He then told me, “You can’t get Lyme disease in Missouri”. He said I had “tick fever”.

Tests were not ordered. Prescriptions were not written.

The doctor told me it would take time, but I would feel better eventually.

But in the months between the tick bites and my eventual Lyme disease diagnosis (18 months later) I felt like I had the flu nearly every day.

As a teacher, I was around children all day. Inevitably, I came into contact with many germs on a daily basis. I was exposed to many illnesses over the years due to having four children of our own. And I never remember being sick much. In fact, my resistance to illness had always been strong.

So I initially thought perhaps I was getting sick a lot due to exposure to all the germs I came into contact with . I usually just pushed through my illness knowing my family and students were depending on me. I figured I’d improve with time.

But, as the weeks and months passed, I began to experience other concerning symptoms I couldn’t ignore. An unrelenting pain began coursing throughout my entire body. The pain was so strong and constant I couldn’t sleep.

I felt exhausted all the time, had trouble breathing, and experienced frequent, intense migraines.

Lethargy and extreme weakness became the norm.

I developed a heart murmur and had frequent heart palpitations, even while lying in bed.

Memory Problems And More

And I started forgetting things and stumbling for the words I wanted to say. The brain fog was so great at times it was starting to worry me.

I was driving one morning and came upon a traffic light feeling confused. As I sat at the intersection a few seconds, I struggled to remember whether the green or red light meant to stop or go. The driver behind me showed frustration with my indecision. He started honking for me to go.

Also, I recall getting lost a few times when I was driving.  And I started calling our children by the wrong names.

I wondered if I was getting Alzheimer’s.

During the 18 months leading up to my diagnosis I went to multiple doctors, including several specialists. They gave me a variety of tests and innumerable blood work all in an effort to figure out what was wrong with me.

I was placed in a Holter monitor for 36 hours to test for heart problems.

My doctor ordered months of Physical Therapy due to muscle weakness and wasting. I had lost 20 pounds in a short time for no apparent reason.

My doctor and Physical Therapist expressed concerns about Multiple Sclerosis. Thankfully, I was tested and MS was ruled out.

Searching For Answerscoping with chronic illness

I was diagnosed eventually with multiple chronic and autoimmune conditions including:

  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
  • Tularemia (another tick-borne illness)

I had multiple allergic reactions to a variety of foods, ran a fever nearly every day and would get hives and strange rashes on my face, neck and torso (where the tick bites occurred).

I developed mild dyslexia for a time and had difficulty reading numbers. As an avid reader I becamei  frustrated when reading text.

Around the same time I started having twitching and tremors in my hands, arms, legs and abdomen.

I recall one time when I had been bedridden for several days, running a high fever and missing several days of work.

I could barely walk anymore without extreme effort and felt as though I was dying.

And I didn’t understand why all of this was happening. I had always been so healthy before the tick bites.

I wanted to learn the root cause of my illness. But each time I went to the doctor, it seemed like they only wanted to treat my myriad of symptoms. It was incredibly frustrating.

But I knew everything had to be related to the tick bites. And I persisted in sharing this with my doctors until they listened and gave me the recommended tests.

Psychological Stages Of Chronic Pain And Illness

According to Jennifer Martin, PsyD, there are Seven Psychological Stages of Chronic Pain and Illness:

  • Denial
  • Pleading, Bargaining and Desperation
  • Anger
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Loss of Self and Confusion
  • Re-evaluation of Life, Roles and Goals
  • Acceptance

I found myself going through these stages, sometimes between two or three at a time.

Questioning God

At this point I started losing hope in ever finding out what was wrong with me.  And I began questioning God.

I asked Him, “God, if you truly love me then why is this happening to me and my family?” I felt confused, angry and forgotten.

I’m humbled to admit I reached this low point in my life journey. I never would have predicted that I’d one day question the very existence of the God I’d believed in and loved as long as I could remember.

Nevertheless, it’s part of my story, and I want to be real. 

Facing my health crisis tested my limits. And I was confronted with my mortality.

I now believe that God was testing my faith throughout my illness. Sometimes I kept my eyes on Him, and sometimes I was stubborn and went my own way.

Isn’t it amazing how we can learn so much from the past, but when we’re living in the moment it isn’t always that clear? (At least this has been my experience)

He Was With Me All Along

Lately God has shown me how He was there for me, even when I was living through the most painful days.

I see now how He has been with me every step of the way, when I was crying out to Him for help and healing — and even when it seemed like God was being silent.

As God reveals Himself to me I see now that part of my story is a renewed faith in Him and hope for His plans for my future.

 I love, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (or what you’re going through), for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you (emphasis mine)” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

I’m thankful He promised “He will never leave you nor forsake you”. I love what Jon Bloom says about our human perceptions:

And when we feel forsaken by God we are not forsaken (Hebrews 13:5). We are simply called to trust the promise more than the perception.

coping with chronic illnessIn the midst of the trials, and despite His faithfulness to me and our family, I still felt alone much of the time. I learned this is common for people confronting chronic pain or illness.

I believe God was and is saying to me , “Take up your cross and follow me…(no matter what) (emphasis mine)” (Matthew 16:24).

I may be a slow learner, but I’m so thankful for His grace and patience with me through it all. And I’m looking forward to what He’s going to do in the coming years. He continues to bring beauty from ashes.

My illness has taught me to take time to slow down (although this is still a challenge). I’m learning to refocus my priorities. For me, this includes prayer and having real, meaningful conversations with the people I love.

I hope you will learn from my mistakes and be encouraged in whatever challenges you experience in life.

coping with chronic illnessTips For Coping With Chronic Illness

1. Educate Yourself

Read, study and learn as much as you can about your condition or disease. While doctors are highly trained professionals, please conduct your own research before believing everything you hear.

I’m pleased with the team of doctors currently managing my medical care and treatment. If you aren’t happy with the level of care you receive consider getting a second opinion or switching doctors.

Before I have an appointment I make a list of questions to ask the doctor. This helps me be more efficient, prioritizing my essential questions first to make sure they’re addressed.

Do you own research, reading as much information as you can about your illness. Try to find knowledgeable people to talk to about your specific condition.

2. Express Gratitude

Say “thank you” to your loved ones, friends, and family. Being chronically ill isn’t easy for them either, especially if they are taking on more responsibility.

My dear husband has helped take our children to multiple practices and events. This is in addition to his full-time job as a High School Principal.  It is  difficult for him to see me sick. But he cares for me throughout my most difficult days. I’m forever grateful to him for his love and support.

In addition to expressing gratitude to others, I recommend keeping a Gratitude Journal. I try to jot down one or two things I’m thankful for.

Sometimes I’ll write down a favorite verse, Motivational Quote or Power Phrase. I can come back later and read what I’ve written for encouragement and reflection.

3. Do Not Let Your Illness Define You

You can take charge and manage your disease instead of letting it define you. In the midst of chronic illness, do not lose your identity.

Face your fears. Take one day at a time. Don’t give into the temptation to have a pity party. Instead, reframe your negative thoughts.

Think of a way to help someone else, even if you are bedridden. Maybe you could text or call an old friend or loved one who is facing their own crisis. Strive to be an encouragement to others.

Keep moving forward.

4. Give Yourself Grace

A wise friend gave me this advice when I was in the throes of my Lyme battle. I was trying to keep up with my duties as a wife, mom, daughter and friend. But it was not possible for me to maintain the level of busyness I’d been accustomed to my entire life.

I had to learn to give myself grace. When feelings of guilt would creep in (because I was not able to do many of the things I did when I was healthy) I had to remind myself of this. I had to find a new normal.

Releasing myself from the pressure of being a do-it-all wife and mom allowed me to focus on what was really important.

5. Make Healthy Choices

Follow a healthy diet. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods. If necessary, lose weight. (18 Ways To Lose Weight Faster can help you get started.)

Get fresh air and soak up the sun to increase vitamin D production. Exercise, if possible, to keep your body strong and flexible.

coping with chronic illnessConsider using essential oils as a natural treatment for pain and insomnia. Learn how coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and other natural ingredients can help improve your health.

Look into intermittent fasting and find out if it might help you with symptoms.

6. Be An Advocate For Your Health

This is one of the most essential things I’ve learned. When I was going through the most serious, painful time of my illness no one could tell me what was going on.

The doctors and specialists gave me multiple prescriptions (many of which I never took due to all the side effects). One doctor suggested watching a video about walking. They told me to get a massage, get more rest, eat a gluten-free diet etc.

While they meant well, their suggestions didn’t address the root cause of my illness.

Thankfully, (albeit 18 months later) I tested positive for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illness co-infections.

This was a turning point in my illness.

We were relieved to have an explanation why my body was deteriorating. Even though no one wants to hear they have a chronic illness, we finally knew what we were dealing with. And that helped bring peace to the situation.

7. Seek Support

Building a support system is vital. Talking with supportive family and close friends can help. You might consider joining a support group or message board where people who have the same condition share experiences and hopes for the future.

I have met so many people who have Lyme disease. We communicate through the blog, Facebook, email and talking on the phone. We share our progress and treatments that have helped and encourage each other.


Can you relate to any of the Psychological Stages Of Chronic Illness And Pain?

Do you have more tips for dealing with chronic pain and illness? Please leave your comments below. I love hearing from you!


If you’d like to learn more about my story you may want to read:

Also, you may like to read about The Spoon Theory in Chronic Illness: What’s A Spoonie Anyway?

Connect With Me Below:

Pinterest — /LoriGeurin
Facebook — /LoriGeurinBlog
Twitter — @LoriGeurin
Instagram — @LoriGeurin
Bloglovin — lorigeurin
Email — healthylife@lorigeurin.com

This post contains affiliate links. And you can read our Affiliate Policy here.


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