Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Lyme Disease. What is it?
According to Doctors practicing medicine, Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease that only last for a short period of time and is cured within two weeks of a prescribed antibiotic. Haha...
So they say...
I am living proof, as well as, thousands of other individuals (many whom I know!) are living with chronic Lyme disease. No, my Lyme was not cured with two weeks of Doxycycline, 56 days of intravenous Rocephin, or 6 years of researching methods to be able to function again. I still live with this mysterious disease that taught me amazing life lessons, and then some.
My Lyme story goes like this:
I began to feel sluggish and unable to eat familiar foods becoming deathly ill my freshman year of high school. I started to shed pounds faster without even trying, and my body began to fade as fast as the summer days.
I began my tenth grade term of high school and my legs and heart would tire after a few hours into the school day. I became more intolerant to foods and was petrified. One evening after a long school day, I was lying on the sofa feeling low and lifeless. I weighed eighty some pounds with not an ounce of muslce or fat on my frail body. My father came over to the sofa to kiss me goodnight, and I told him that I believed my time was coming to an end soon. My body was beginning to slowly shut down. He and my mum immediately began researching physicians who could help.
My parents discovered an Osteopathic Physician in Philadelphia. He informed my us after one consult that he felt I should undergo 56 treatments of Rocephin because my Lyme disease test came back positive and he felt the antibiotics would assist me in multiple ways. That same evening, on the drive home from Philadelphia, my mother woke me up in our family vehicle informing me that the Physician we just saw in Philadelphia called and said my heart rate was only 32 beats per minute and they were rushing me to the ER.
In the ER, doctors and nurses flocked over my delicate frail body. I told them how I was feeling: low on energy, strange sensations inside my stomach, and extreme exhaustion. After blood test, IV hookups, and an EKG. a nurse entered my room with paperwork informing my parents that I was not pregnant, but I should attend a treatment center for Anorexia Nervousa. I looked at my parents confused. Why would the doctors think I was pregnant? And why would they think I had Anorexia? I ate like a teenage boy sprouting ten feet. My parents took me home from the ER, and the following day we drove back to Philadelphia to begin the 56 treatments with my new Physician. I began home bound instruction, and for the next two months, every week day, someone drove me to Philadelphia three hours up and three hours back.
Finally, after completing two months of antibiotics, I thought I was back on the road to recovery. In reality, this was far from the truth. Before, when I consumed food, I got an upset stomach and could not keep it down, but after my treatments on antibiotics, my allergies sensitivity heightened and if I even smelled the food I was allergic to this would happen...
I used my EpiPen daily. I went to multiple allergist all giving unclear answers. One allergist even said that my condition was fake and if I went home and searched the internet for the Food Allergy Network, it would literally change my life. (Wherever that Doctor may be now, I might hunt you down with a team of other Lymie's) I was disgusted by the lack of respect I was being shown. If physicians did not know what I had, they automatically labeled me as mentally ill because a diagnosis to them was better than nothing.
My anaphylactic reactions continued. I was unable to consume milk, corn, nuts, rice, and gluten. (If you have not learned by now, corn is in everything!) I remember going on a date with my boyfriend at the movie theater and we had to leave before the movie even started because I had a severe reaction just from smelling the popcorn and freshly melted butter. Crazy! I was scared, lonely, and tired of all the sickness. I had to live in my own little bubble and was barely able to leave the house. The only thing I had was my school work, an occasional workout if I felt up to it, and a special visit from family and friends.
Months passed and my family and I were gathered in the family room watching HOUSE. In the episode, the woman was very ill and barely able to function. In the end, House, being a genius, saved the day and woman's life by removing a huge tapeworm from her intestines causing her food allergies. I quickly laughed and said, "I bet that is what is wrong with me!" We all laughed together thinking how absurd that suggestion was.
More months passed and I ended up like this...
I could not walk, I lost my voice for several months, my heart was slow and sluggish again, I would have fevers as high as 105 degree, my Lyme spots would appear, and my hands were bunched up like a birds talons. I also used over 50 EpiPens and was desperate for help.
I went to another doctor who treated my allergies with LDA (Low Dose Allergen therapy) and then he treated me for Lyme Disease and a tapeworm! A TAPEWORM!!!!! Yuck!! The episode of HOUSE flashed in my mind. To my surprise, a tapeworm was in fact living inside me, feeding off my food and body for several years. I still wonder how I came into contact with my parasitic creeper. Maybe it met me through my love for sushi, or because I failed to follow my mum's advice years prior on properly washing my fruits and veggies.
I still struggle with my Lyme and food allergies to this very day, six years and moving forward, but I am healing my body with the assistance of Doctor Ann Corson located in the Phildelphia area. I found the proper supplementation plan and natural diet to help reconstruct my body from the inside out.
During my medical journey I adopted such a negative attitude after being rejected by numerous physicians and being isolated from normal everyday activities. I had to learn to believe that the struggle I was enduring was for something great. Understanding now that life does not ask you what you want, but how you embrace the situation makes a HUGE difference!
I gained an inner drive that pushes me to remain positive and to never give up. I want others to see the light inside of me that is radiating. Life is a gift, and without the help, prayers, and faith from my family, boyfriend, and supporting community I would not be alive today. I am living proof that one can and will come out of a negative situation stronger than before. What does not kill you makes you stronger and strong is the new me!
Anyone else dealing with Lyme disease I would love to hear your story and comments below!!!
This disease is a journey all about learning what best works for your individual case and body.