Like many people with Lyme disease, I have no idea when I was infected and for years I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I didn’t see a tick or a rash and also like many people, I was told I tested negative for Lyme.
So why did I feel so run down all the time? My joints ached, my muscles were weak and hurt with the least amount of exertion. I had major brain fog: my head felt like it was stuffed with sawdust, I couldn’t think clearly and I couldn’t concentrate. I was having trouble with my memory: it was difficult to recall names, what I was just saying a moment before, where I was going in my car. I had no stamina, no energy. There should be a new word for the fatigue that people with Lyme disease experience, because exhaustion doesn’t begin to describe it. And many other symptoms: muscle cramps, dizziness, mysterious skin rashes, burning pain, nerve pain, stabbing pain, pain on the bottom of my feet. Night sweats, insomnia, the list goes on.
A year and a half later, I have more energy and stamina than I have had in years, my brain fog is almost gone and my pain is very manageable.
They say that fifty is the new thirty but I felt like fifty was the new ninety. I had a sneaking suspicion that feeling this way all the time was not normal but I put it down to getting older, menopause, old injuries, a physical job. Maybe
feeling old before my time was normal.
Finally, my acupuncturist told me that she suspected chronic Lyme disease. I had no idea there was such a thing. The sum total of my knowledge of Lyme disease was that you got bitten by a deer tick, you got antibiotics for the infection, the infection went away. Little did I know…
Not surprisingly, I went home and googled and googled and googled. Then I made an appointment with a naturopath who specializes in Lyme disease. A year and a half later, I have more energy and stamina than I have had in years, my brain fog is almost gone and my pain is very manageable.
I consider myself lucky. While some people end up bedridden, I was able to live a fairly normal life. While some people lose their jobs, I was able to keep working. While some people spend all their savings and mortgage their houses, I was able to get cost-effective care. I have a supportive community and a loving spouse.
Even though I am fortunate, it’s not easy recovering from a chronic illness. I’ve had to make some changes and difficult choices - work less, eat carefully, get rest, say no, accept my limitations and manage my expectations.
Yes, Lyme disease changed my life as it has many people's lives, but once I accepted that there was no way to avoid the effect chronic illness had on my body and on my life, I decided to lean in and embrace the changes I needed to make in order to get well. During my recovery process I learned so much that I became a Certified Holistic Practitioner specializing in Lyme disease and chronic illness. I believe that for every person who feels alone and helpless in their illness, there are just as many opportunities to restore your heath and reclaim your life.