Dear Lyme Fighters

IMG_3072 Dear Lyme Fighters, 

I’m sure you’ve spent the last several months (or years) wondering what is happening to your body. You’ve watched the everyday functioning of your systems slip away. The flight down the stairs that you used to accomplish without a second thought has become a painful obstacle. Your own limbs, now tingly or numb, might as well belong to Mr. Potato Head. And, to make matters worse, your heart, lungs, brain and bladder have gone rogue. You know your body is a sinking ship. You don’t want to hoist up a white flag, yet no one seems to know what to do with you.

The first doctor you see tells you that stress is responsible for your symptoms. You’ve been busy. You have a history of taking on too much. You beg your doctor to run more tests. You know SOMETHING is different. She runs a few blood tests with no definitive answers, so it must be the stress she says with raised brows. When your body springs another leak, you return to your doctor, or perhaps see specialists. You give more blood, watch more shoulders shrug, get more therapy recommendations, cry more tears and receive unnecessary prescriptions to cover up your uncomfortable symptoms like useless Band-Aids. You have no experience advocating for yourself, so you wonder if maybe you ARE crazy. Maybe it’s all in your head.

Then one day you receive confirmation that it isn’t a faux illness. You have Lyme disease. You recognize that the road to a diagnosis looks different for everyone, but you are just glad you finally got there. You cry tears of happiness when you read the results of your lab work because now doctors can finally fix you. (Or can they?)

Your wallet suffers. Your health savings account is bone dry. You cringe as your family loans you money. The good doctors—the Lyme Literate MDs—don’t take insurance. Why? Because they’d never get reimbursed. Chronic Lyme disease is not an accepted phenomenon. To continue on your brave road to recovery, you will need to keep shelling out dollars that you don’t have.

There are nights when your skin crawls and you can’t follow the plot line on Housewives of New Jersey. Your joints throb when you try to change the channel. You throw back antibiotics like Tic Tacs. You rearrange your kitchen cabinets to make room for your herbs, homeopathic liquids, supplements, oils, vitamins and probiotics. You buy a juicer. You throw away your delicious chocolate stash. You invest in an acupuncturist (then make room for more herbs). You take trips to receive halotherapy, sit in an infrared sauna and meditate. Your life is no longer your own. Lyme is the center of your universe. No REALLY … it is. And that makes you feel pathetic.  

But … but … you are not about to wave that white flag, damn it. In fact, you’ve shredded it, and used the pieces to make some insanely awesome warrior costume. Lyme is at the center of your universe, SO YOU CAN CONQUER IT. Are you getting better? Who knows?! But you do know that you are trying. And, frankly, that’s all that matters. So keep kicking ass!