When life gives you a twist of Lyme Disease

This is the post I have been trying to get the nerve up to write for almost a year.

 

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I know that most readers visit us to see cute home decor ideas and yummy recipes, not to read about our personal issues.  However, I have decided, after much thought, to share my health story in hopes of helping even one person, and that outweighs any inclination I have toward privacy or our usual “putting only our best foot forward” mentality.

Some perceptive readers have inquired why my family has moved as much as Christy, a military wife for whom moving is a way of life. We have also moved several times in the last three years, you may have noticed the large number of Home Tours on our site? :) While at the time we glossed over our constant relocations online, I am now sharing the whole “behind the scenes” story. Three years ago my husband was unexpectedly transferred across our state to the coast of Virginia. It was a good opportunity for him, and while change is hard, we embraced the new opportunity and built a home that was truly a dream {tour it here}. At first things were great, summer was coming and we were living a few miles from the beach. We were settled in and I was happily blogging about all the projects I was completing in our little lake house. Being Type A and a DIY girl, that spring I spent much time attempting to make our new post-construction sandpit of a yard as presentable as I could.

While I knew that our yard had a proliferation of ticks thanks to the small pocket of forest behind us and therefore was obsessively careful with my children, I never thought a tiny insect the size of a poppy seed would eventually land on me, and wreak havoc on my life. In the late spring of that year (2012) I noticed a rash (though not a “bullseye” rash) and sudden numbness and tingling in my hands/arms, feet and legs. I became worried—even wondering briefly if it was lyme —it was prevalent in the area we moved from so it came right to my mind. This was a possibility confirmed by the {not-so} trustworthy “webMD”, and knowing lyme needed fast treatment (and if not lyme, I was wondering what the heck was wrong?!?) I made my husband take me to the doctor.  The doctor gave my rash a cursory glance and promptly told me I was having a panic attack and sent me directly home.

In the days following, I saw other doctors to try to determine what the tingling sensation was and heard everything from a compressed nerve in my back from doing yoga to vitamin deficiency to depression. Life continued on that summer, when suddenly a few weeks later I developed severe symptoms. My stomach burned painfully, especially at night, I suffered from vertigo, dizziness, anxiety, nausea, weakness,  shortness of breath and extreme, flu-like fatigue. I sought a GI specialist who prescribed prescription-strength acid reducers for my stomach pain.  I can see now that those drugs made me even more sick—likely the lack of acid in my stomach literally tore holes in my intestines {known as “leaky gut syndrome”, which further worsened my immune response.} The doctors started running tests…normal….normal they said, writing me off once they had exhausted their protocols. “You're just depressed” I heard over and over. I started to wonder if I actually was, so I took the antidepressants they offered me, but within minutes I had the sensation of electric shocks coursing through me. I was soon at a total loss as to what was wrong with me, and to say I was discouraged was an understatement.

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Disheartened by the patronizing and unhelpful attitudes of the doctors, I took matters in my own hands—diligently researching online for anything that could help and in desperation I began eating as gluten and sugar-free as I could. I saw a small improvement by the holidays, but still had no real answers. I continued to see doctor after doctor as more strange symptoms presented—like blurred vision {just wear your glasses more, the eye doctor said}, and became even more scared when I had strange reactions to over-the-counter meds like Tylenol which left the allergist I saw baffled. By the end of 2012, my husband and I knew something had to change. He requested what would become a career-halting transfer, and the "For Sale" sign went up in front of our cute little house. Caring for my children alone in a new city, while he worked long hours and traveled, was simply no longer possible, we had to move back closer to family.

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