Lyme Disease — A Story of Recovery
Last June (2019), I knew something was wrong with me. I love being outdoors, and I take frequent hikes and walks. I also was employed in a wooded area. Surrounded by nature, I was generally at peace and excited by life. Usually full of energy, I found myself getting very sleepy or dizzy without understanding why. These bouts of sleepiness and dizziness were easily cured by Emergen-C for a while. My energy would vacillate from being able to complete a mile run without an issue to becoming tired after putting dishes away. My levels of anxiety were also high. I went to the local Valley Health Clinic, and I asked them to run every test possible because I knew something was wrong with me. All of my blood work came back normal. I chalked everything up to stress and continued talking to my counselor. Despite talk therapy and medicine to ease my anxiety, I still felt terrible. I was unsure of what else to do. All of my lab work was normal, right? This must be in my head I thought.
Fast forward to November…After working for two months (I have summers off because I teach), I was more tired than ever. Getting to work was a struggle. I had just enough energy to get through my day of teaching and take care of my beautiful two boys. I took one day at a time, and I kept my mind focused on the future. Usually I always recommend staying focused on the present, but in this case, the future was a better bet because I was struggling through the present.
My mom urged me to see a different doctor. I was so tired I really did not want to. I had already been to my primary care doctor more than once, my endocrinologist, a nurse-practitioner, and my gynecologist. Each ran tests and found nothing. Luckily, I did listen to my mom, and I found a doctor with a different approach. She actually ran tests for everything when I asked, not just a few things. She thoroughly tested me for any type of physical ailment that can wreck havoc on your body and create extreme fatigue.
The first tests they ran all came back normal, but then I got a call saying that they forgot one set of tests that they normally complete on everyone. So exhausted, I really did not want to go back for my tests. Begrudgingly, I dragged myself back there and complied. I was positive for Lyme Disease. I was actually really excited to hear this news because I finally had an answer. I felt so positive because I figured I would just take some antibiotics and be good as new. Little did I know that not everyone is cured by antibiotics. There was no way for the doctor to determine how long it would take me to get better. Besides messing with your immune system and your energy levels, Lyme also affects your ability to sleep. To recover from Lyme, sleep is essential. I tried everything for sleep. I tried high doses of melatonin, anti-anxiety medications, a few medications specifically for sleep, and herbal concoctions from the health food store. Nothing worked consistently.
I took Doxycycline from November until February. Eventually, the over-use of antibiotics gave me an uncomfortable rash. My doctor switched me to amoxicillin, and I stayed on that through March. I still did not feel better, but I was finally making some progress. I was a little less anxious and was sleeping through some nights. The fatigue I was facing was getting a bit better.
In mid-March I was sent home to teach (just like everyone else). Still recovering from Lyme, I was now responsible to teach my students and help to teach my wonderful boys. Staying home was somewhat helpful for my recovery because I did not have to rush out of the house at 6:30 am. I did have to learn to multi-task a lot more though. I had to get lunch made, help to teach and care for two children, and teach my students. It was difficult to go to the doctor for more tests because of Coronavirus.
In addition to the antibiotics I was taking, my doctor added an herbal complex. The addition of the AL Complex by Byron Labs helped me to progress further towards healing. By the end of March, my Lyme tests a looked a little better. I had less bands of Lyme, and my Lyme symptoms had also reduced. My doctor decided to stop the antibiotics and keep me on AL Complex only. My antibodies to Epstein Barr were also high. That does not mean that I had an active infection, but it still can cause some issues. In addition to the AL Complex I took another herbal complex called A-EB-H6. I currently continue to take both of those herbal tinctures
In April, I stayed with my mom for the week, and I brought my boys with me. She helped to care for them and teach them while I worked. It was a nice change of pace from home, and it helped reduce my stress. I felt better for that week, but I felt worse once I went back home. Feeling somewhat isolated did not really help my outlook or my illness, but I was determined to keep fighting. I knew if I could keep my mind focused on wellness that I could get better.
Finally, June arrived. That meant, for me, a break from work which I desperately needed this year. I am able to focus on my health, moving forward in a positive way, and continuing a strict diet, vitamins, and herbs to keep my immune system healthy and strong. Now it is July, and I am feeling even stronger. At my next appointment, my doctor will run more tests. I am confident that I am free of Lyme disease and can resume living a normal life. The battle I faced will stay with me. I will recover from it, but I do not want to forget about it. It is important that people are aware of this disease and that more help becomes available to people dealing with this treacherous issue.
I am a a member of a few different Lyme Disease Support groups online. I heave learned a lot about Lyme Disease. The scariest thing about Lyme disease is that it affects everyone so differently. Some people are able to recover within a year or less, and some people don’t get better at all. The way Lyme impacts a person’s life can vary from a slight inconvenience to complete destruction. I have talked to people that have sold their homes to pay for treatment, and they still are not better. There a lots of positive recovery stories too.
Fighting Lyme Disease is an expensive venture because not all treatments for Lyme Disease are covered by health insurance. The CDC’s guidelines state that you must have five bands of Lyme disease to truly be Lyme Disease positive. Yet, there are people that have one band of Lyme and still have symptoms. The tests are also not completely accurate. There are currently specialty tests that are more accurate, but they are not covered by most health insurances. Lyme disease can be overcome, but people need the support of a good doctor that has the time to listen and is willing to prescribe many tests. I was lucky to get help from someone that takes my health insurance and get better. I wanted to go to an LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor), but I did not want to pay $1600 out of pocket for a two hour visit.
I am aware that we are all in a Pandemic Situation. Our nation is in crisis. Our healthcare system does not serve all people with all illnesses. They do not focus on preventative medicine. Conditions are only deemed appropriate to treat and test when someone’s health has already declined so far that they may not be able to recover.
Healthcare is a human right. Both patients and doctors need more time together. Doctors cannot assess a patient during a fifteen minute visit, and patients cannot feel heard in a fifteen minute visit.
I truly hope for all sufferers of any disease that things in our country change. We are all paying a lot of money from our paychecks to cover the cost of our healthcare. Then, when something actually happens with your health, a lot of the tests one needs right away are not covered or you have to wait until you reach some type of crazy deductible to get the insurance company to start covering the bill.
I urge my readers to take care of their health. Your doctor is not going to teach you to prevent future health problems. Proper nutrition, reducing intake of sugar and processed foods, and stress management are all keys to preventing health issues. Exercise, chiropractic care, and a regular sleep/wake schedule are also essential to maintaining one’s health. Stay well friends and readers!