May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. If you know anyone who has Lyme Disease or another tick-borne Illness, you will relate to this story.
It’s been about 15 years since my daughter was bitten by a tick. To say it caused her life to change dramatically is an understatement. At the time, she was 15. She had tested out of high school and was attending community college classes. She was determined to get an Associate of Arts degree before leaving for college. Bright, strong, and adventurous, she had endless options at her fingertips.
How it Started
The tick bite happened while she was on a camping trip with a friend. Previously diagnosed with and recovering from mononucleosis, she felt good enough to be in nature to have some fun.
Several months later, she was still suffering from fatigue. She dragged herself to classes, but frequently complained of brain fog. Some days, her exhaustion was so debilitating that she couldn’t walk across the room. She also suffered from joint pain, severe depression, twitching, inability to sleep, stomach problems, and a host of other mysterious symptoms.
She was ultimately diagnosed with Lyme, which was a baby step compared to the herculean efforts required to find a cure. In fact, there is no cure—only remission. For most people, the diagnosis is the start of a treatment journey that is long, arduous, ridiculously expensive, and for many people, relatively ineffective. My daughter is no exception.
It took five years of internet research, inconclusive tests, and doctor visits to finally get a diagnosis of Lyme Disease from a Lyme-literate doctor. By this time, the condition was chronic, and the CDC’s recommended cure of two weeks of antibiotics was a joke.
In 2007, not much was known about this chronic and debilitating disease that today infects about 300,000 people in the US every year. To put this number into perspective, it is ”1.5 times the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer, and six times the number of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS each year in the US.” (www.LymeDisease.org)
From traditional allopathic treatments to alternatives such as as homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and apitherapy, my daughter has tried them all. Oral and IV antibiotics. (She developed sepsis from an infected port.) Several hospitalizations. Handfuls of supplements and IV nutrient therapy. Biological detoxification and ozone therapy. Chelation and heavy metal detoxification. Hormone replacement, nutritional supplementation, and bee sting therapy.
Some treatments have worked better than others, but remission has been far from permanent.
She is now 30 years old, married, and living an hour away from me. Although she experiences severe pain and extreme fatigue on most days, she refuses to give up hope. This Saturday, she will begin a two-week course of treatment at Infusio Beverly Hills. The clinic specializes in Lyme disease treatment, SVF stem cell therapy, and biological cancer treatment therapies. This is not a quick fix. The results can take up to 11 months, but reports have been promising.
The Lyme journey is different for everyone. Ticks carry an arsenal of diseases causing symptoms that often require aggressive and persistent treatment. Education is not only required for prevention but is an integral part of any cure.
Take time to learn about Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illnesses. Understand the pain and suffering that your friends and loved ones might be experiencing as a result. Physically debilitating, Lyme and other related diseases also affect the mind and the emotions. Many people with Lyme look good but feel like sh**.
Jan Fishler, MA, is currently co-authoring a new book, Don’t Stop Now, Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life (DontStopNow.us). She is also the author of Searching for Jane, Finding Myself (An Adoption Memoir), and has written several articles about alternative health and PTSD. You can learn more about Jan at www.JanFishler.net.