Joint pain, muscle pain, nerve pain, chronic stomach pain, brain fog, slurred speech, chronic fatigue, chronic illness, and a 24/7/365 headache - these symptoms and more I have experienced in the past three and a half years. Unexplained symptoms for a once healthy and active sixteen year old.
It is hard to explain to others the life I lived in those three years. Going from a B student who loved school, to failing and barely passing classes thanks to teachers who tried to understand my daily headache. Having a strong companionship with my friends to loosing them because of my constant absence, and their inability to understand my pain. Loving to run every day and staying in shape to having hardly enough energy to get out of bed. Getting lost going home, blacking out in the car. Short term and long term memory loss. Depression set in.
I saw a pediatric doctor, GI specialist, three neurologists, a headache specialist, Rheumatologist, Immunologist, allergy specialist, three alternative doctors, two chiropractors, oral surgeon, optometrist, and a psychologist. Fifteen doctors. I was diagnosed with, EOE, chronic migraine, NDPH, S pneumonia antigen deficiency, and chronic fatigue. Doctors have told me, there is nothing wrong with me, and that it was psychosomatic. My psychologist told me there was nothing wrong with me mentally. Suspicion arose when researching symptoms on the Internet about Lyme disease but my doctors refused to check for it. “Lyme doesn’t exist on the west coast.”
Thanks to my mother’s persistence, this April I went to a Doctor in Coeur d’Alene who was an alternative doctor who can diagnose people with Lyme through muscle response. I was diagnosed with Lyme disease April 3rd the day after my 19th birthday. Lyme disease is Borrelia bergdofia, with coinfections babesia, bartonella, and ehrlichia. The symptoms are vast. It can spread to every part of one’s body. The stomach, nerves, joints, heart, lungs, brain, bone marrow, eyes, skin, blood, etc. It is contracted from a tick bite but fewer than 50% of people with Lyme recall the bite. The blood test is 35% to 50% accurate. Unreliable. There was about 27,000 reported cases to the CDC of Lyme in 2008, but the CDC calculated the there is about 12× that of unreported cases, and most people don’t even know they have it. Some people with lyme can’t handle the pain and commit suicide. Some learn to live with it.
I looked at a symptom sheet and calculated that I was around 10 years old when I contracted the disease.
The treatment options are limited to people with chronic Lyme disease. Very little doctors who treat chronic Lyme as it would be a threat to their license, because of money hungry insurance companies, who refuse to believe chronic Lyme exists. Some doctors have agreed to treat Lyme with treatments that include antibiotics, natural, and LDI. I was blessed to have been directed to Doctor Vance who is an integrative doctor who does low dose immunotherapy, for Lyme, allergies, and other things. By introducing the LDI with Lyme it retrains my body to fight the Lyme and not other systems in the body. He diagnosed me with a cousin of Lyme, babesia. To get my body ready for treatment he wanted to build up my fragile immune system. I got IV therapy and UBI treatment to clean the bacteria out of my blood for about a month and then the LDI for Lyme. The next three days after the shot I was miserable, more miserable than I have been. Then I woke up and my headache was gone and all symptoms disappeared. It was amazing. I felt like doing something. I felt like I could have my life back. For two months I continued IV therapy and UBI. I came home in august of 2015.
I was walking dead, trying to see the best out of my situation. Trying to be strong for my family and friends. Surrounding myself with a positive atmosphere. I had my band family, they stood by me and let me do what I love. Music held me together. I had my better days and my bad days I thank all of my teachers for being patient with me. I have a more than supportive family and fiancé who love me. I am strong because of this experience and I have been forced to grow up quickly. I hope that I can educate people about Lyme by telling as many people I can about my story.
I now have a job and I am going to be married in November to the love of my life. He has seen me at my best and my worst. I couldn’t imagine a better life right now. I am living my life that I have back thanks to the amazing support and treatment of Dr. Vance. He is the doctor who cares for your health and well being. There is hope!