Chronic Lyme disease affects the lives of many thousands of people here in the U.S. and across the world. There are many thousands more who are sick and undiagnosed with Lyme disease.
Many of you do not understand the danger of ticks and the devasting effects on your physical and mental health that happens with untreated Lyme disease.
I am one of those many thousands blessed to have been diagnosed with Lyme disease. Blessed because I was able to confirm my diagnosis with a doctor. I am 3 years into this journey, but it is a journey that can last weeks, months, and years. Although I am over the worst of it, it is still part of my daily health struggle.
I have decided to use my site as a hub for people who are searching for information and help to overcome this illness.
Each person who has Chronic Lyme Disease has their own individual story of how they are overcoming the devastating effects of this illness. Each person may have different symptoms and use different paths to overcome their illness.
By reading different stories from individual experiences, you may gain insight on how to proceed with your illness. We learn from others fighting this illness.
I am inviting those of you reading this article to express your experience with Lyme and how you are overcoming it by submitting your story about Lyme disease. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
How Did my Journey with Chronic Lyme Disease Begin? Part # 1
We moved from CA to TN in 2015 to get away from traffic, water police, and expensive living. My sister and brother-in-law owned a house for rent in Indian Mound. Indian Mound was about 35 minutes away from Clarksville in the boonies. The house and property were far away from city regulations, water police, and neighbors. I am an herbalist and it was a chance for my husband and me to have a property with a well where we could grow herbs and raise livestock as well. The rent was cheap and gave us a chance to know my sister better. So we packed up all our stuff in a24-foott U-Hall with a dog and 3 cats along for the trip in the middle of a nasty winter, just after Christmas.
When we got there, it was cold with ice on the ground. When Spring came, we were excited to get going with our projects. We never thought about the tick issue. I didn't have a clue until Spring came and the weather turned beautiful with all the trees in bloom. The first project was a fence to keep the dogs from getting killed on the road. Then came planting the berry bushes we had brought with us and more that were purchased. It wasn't long before the ticks began hatching out and we were scrapping them off every crevice of our body. I had welts on top of welts they left. Each night we did a body search for ticks from our ankles to our hair. In TN there were thousands of trees covering the area. The ticks crawl up your ankles and fall down on you from the trees above. We had no idea they were that bad in TN but then again I did not research that factor for our move. The next move because of the ticks was building a chicken coop in the existing barn. Chickens and ducks, along with guinea hens eat ticks and bugs. This did help considerably but we still picked them off nightly, just less.
It was in 2016 that we brought my father-in-law out to live with us. He was getting really bad with dementia and chronic Leukemia. I became his caregiver as my husband was still working full time. My life got highly stressful and I had little time for rest or myself. Looking back at this time period, this was an important factor in my Lyme Disease story. Stress does not help your immune function and his dad was a retired military man. His favorite lines were, "What part of NO don't you understand! and " We will talk about this later". It wasn't long before fatigue set in and my nerves were shot! During this time period, I went to the doctor with welts that just would not go away. I had two different Lyme tests which both were negative. I learned that most of the time, the tests were inaccurate so I basically gave up going back. I took my symptoms as a sign of stress which was severe.
It was in the Spring of 2018 that dad passed away. During that time, we had started a backyard nursery, built a cold frame, and worked ourselves into the ground while taking care of his dad too. When his dad died there was the grief of losing him and all the questions about his medical bills and coverage. It was a rough time because he died in that Spring when we were due to open up the backyard nursery for its first sales. I remember I had been feeling awful for months before that but again chalked it up to stress. I seemed to be falling apart mentally, physically, and emotionally. My memory seemed to be degrading. I was leaving the stove on. I couldn't remember the plant's names we were going to sell. Then came 4 weeks of fevers, pain in every part of my body, and headaches. I am not prone to headaches. I thought I had the flu. It was when our neighbors began noticing that my balance was going, that I realized how bad I was. Our neighbors, who we had just come to know, told me to go to the doctor immediately. He had recently been in the hospital with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. He was convinced I had one of the tick diseases. I honestly thought I had Parkinsons' or some other dread disease because of my memory failing so rapidly.
I got a doctor's appointment two days later and my husband drove me in. I could barely function. He took my temperature which was at 102 and listened to my symptoms and declared it was one of the tick diseases. He took blood for lab tests and started me on Doxicillin for 10 days. Several days later, the labs validated his diagnosis of Lyme Disease. At the time I was thankful to know it was Lyme disease and not lethal. I had no idea at the time, of the long-term consequences of this diagnosis.
I have years as an herbalist but this did not prepare me for dealing with Lyme disease. The herbs I had always taken for colds and flu did not have any effect on Lyme such as Goldenseal. I did take the antibiotics the doctor prescribed because I had no idea on how to fight Lyme disease and I was so very sick. The antibiotics did take away the fever and a lot of the overall pain. The antibiotics did help restore my balance which at that point was awful. That was quite helpful but there were many symptoms that remained including deep eye pain, headaches, memory issues, and mental issues such as losing control and getting angry at nothing. So I began researching everything I could find on natural therapies and Lyme disease. The more I researched, the more I realized this was going to be the toughest health crisis of my life at 68 years old.
In the next articles, I will write about how I began to recover, what herbs I used, and other supplements. I will relay how my husband got Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever not long after and how that has impacted his life and health. The antibiotics did not solve my Lyme illness completely and I do have Chronic Lyme Disease that I work with every day of my life.
I hope you will come back to learn more about my path with Chronic Lyme and more about Lyme disease.
I end this article with the hope that this article and others to follow will help people get diagnosed sooner and aid them on their path to feeling better.
Cathryn Freer, the Herbladyisin