© Illustration by Life in Lyme Light.

How has Lyme Disease affected your life? What inspires you?

It has affected every single thing in every single day.. stole my role as mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, play mate, gardener, baker, chef, seamstress, artist, and the list goes on and on… it didn’t steal my life though it did come close.. I’m here and alive and can still laugh at my nut kids from the couch, I can still check out my husband as he walks around the house even though I’m just sitting, I can admire my garden that I didn’t plant or weed but it’s still mine… I’m the boss and tell everyone what to do even if I’m just sitting on the porch while doing it and while admiring my garden… if you’re here, you haven’t lost your life. Yes it changed.. yes it’s hard .. very very hard, but we can’t lose our life while we are still alive unless we give it away…

© Illustration by Life in Lyme Light.

How has Lyme Disease affected your life? What inspires you?

My yearly PSA: Tick** season is back (technically it never leaves) which means your risk of contracting Lyme is back. My 10yo daughter has contracted Lyme TWICE in a state where the vast majority of medical specialists won’t even acknowledge that it’s here, as if ticks care about state lines.? She is cured because I fought like a motha to get her the full 30-45 day course of Doxy or Amoxicillin (in our case it was one for each diagnosis). Don’t settle for less time, don’t settle for a different med, don’t think you can cure it with essential oils (though there are several that ease symptoms).

Estimates show only about 20-40% of people present with the bullseye rash, so you need to watch for “summer cold/flu” symptoms following a bite. The symptoms can include neurological issues like changes in talking and walking. It can affect your sleeping and eating patterns. If you get labs drawn send them only to IGeneX lab. No where else is as comprehensive. Save ticks you pull off and consider sending them for testing to that same lab, especially if anyone in your family presents with symptoms.

Prevention: you can spray clothing with permethrin which lasts for about 10 washes. We use deet if we are going into deep woods or high grass because I’m much more worried about Lyme and other tick illnesses than I am of using deet from time to time. If we are just out playing then we’ll stick natural/eo based repellents. Best wishes for a healthy spring and summer!!! (Ps, **ticks aren’t the only carriers. Fillies, mosquitoes, lice, and fleas can carry it too**)

© Illustration by Life in Lyme Light.

How has Lyme Disease affected your life? What inspires you?

In June 2011 I was finishing my Master’s degree, getting ready to sell our house, training for a Tough Mudder. One day, out of the blue, I woke up with neck pain worse than I have ever felt before. Three days later, I woke up & could not feel my legs. I could not walk. Letters looked like symbols so I could not read or write. That was the beginning of nine months of seeking a diagnosis starting with major universities. There were 3 people in my partner’s office who had spouses with Lyme & they encouraged us  to contact a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD).

Fortunately the best Lyme doctor in the world was only 30 minutes away in Washington DC. At my first appointment, I still could not walk, read, write & was barely able to speak. The LLMD diagnosed me with Lyme & multiple co-infections. I was one of the sickest patients he had ever seen. My LLMD told me I would not go back to who I was before I got sick, but he could help me get a better quality of life. In the 7 years since my diagnosis, I have done oral & IV treatments. My body has been through a lot, but it was ultimately worth it. I live with constant pain, plus Lyme has also caused severe brain damage. But I am enjoying a better quality of life. I can drive, go to the gym, read a book, cook, etc. This is a lifelong battle and I will continue to fight with all that I have.

© Illustration by Life in Lyme Light.

How has Lyme Disease affected your life? What inspires you?

I’ve been fighting Lyme disease for over 2 years. Like many of you with this disease, I was misdiagnosed several times before I saw an educated holistic doctor that used igenex lab for testing.
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I had all the classic symptoms:
Extreme fatigue.
Achey joints.
Muscle spasms.
Muscle aches.
Daily headaches.
No energy.
Stiff and sore neck.
Fever, chills, nausea and some days completely exhausted.
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I was taking on over 28 pills a day along with 3 liquid supplements. I started to feel some relief but would suffer from flare ups often.
In December of 2018 I saw Dr. Green an integrative LLMD!
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Fast forward to today April 29, 2019 – I am down to 12 pills a day and all most all of my symptoms have subsided! Praise God, thanks to my hubby, family and friends for your unfailing support.
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This battle is not easy BUT I’m proof that Lyme remission is possible.
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I completely removed sugar, gluten, dairy and alcohol from my diet and followed the protocol Dr Green assigned me to a T. Never missing a dose.
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Please see a LLMD, take control of what you eat, never give up hope. God is the almighty healer and He loves you so!

© Illustration by Nicki Lenore.

How has Lyme Disease affected your life? What inspires you?

NEVER GIVE UP……

Words I said/still say over & over to my daughter for the last 10 years…

  • For the first 5 years starting when my daughter was 4 1/2yrs old, “Never give up, we will find out what is causing you pain.”
  • Next 3 years after finally getting a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease, “Never give up, don’t give up hope. We will help you beat this disease and win the battle.”
  • 3 years to present…..now in “remission” & dealing with the aftermath, the damage, the destruction, the loss of her childhood, the isolation that chronic Lyme disease has caused physically & mentally. “Never give up, please don’t give up on your life. Please don’t take your life, your life is worth living. I will NEVER GIVE UP for you. We will get you the tools to heal your body and mind, physically & mentally.”

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month & the 5th year of the Lyme Disease Challenge Campaign, which I am part of. It’s a social media campaign that’s a fun & positive way to spread awareness. Lyme disease & The Co-infections are dark and horrific diseases that I don’t wish on anyone. This campaign is our, the Lyme community, way to educate others and it lasts all month long.

So…….TAKE A BITE OUT OF LYME with me! Help me spread awareness. Educating yourself is key for prevention and learning the signs & symptoms. Resources: lymediseasechallenge.org livlymefoundation.org

© Illustration by Life in Lyme Light.

How has Lyme Disease affected your life? What inspires you?

I was bitten by a tick in Peachtree City, Georgia, February of 2015. I thought nothing of it. I pulled it off my upper thigh and flushed it down the sink. A few weeks after the bite, I started to have burning pain in my leg and multiple symptoms quickly followed. Fast forward 10-11 months, I have pain all over my body, I’m exhausted, dropping everything and I can barely walk.

During my journey I saw multiple doctors and specialists, had 6 MRIs and was diagnosed with a torn muscle, a torn meniscus, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, possible Rheumatoid arthritis and possible Multiple Sclerosis. Desperate for answers, I finally saw a holistic doctor who diagnosed me with Lyme and co-infections (Babesia & Bartonella) after seeing it pop up in a bioenergetic test. I began treatment and started to get better.

A local Lyme friend suggested I see her LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) in Florida, but since the holistic approach was working I was sticking with it. A few months later, I was bitten again by 2 ticks (2 at the same time on the same ankle) and that’s when everything started to spiral out of control.

Some days I couldn’t walk at all, raise my arms or use my hands. My husband had to literally carry me and feed me at times. My stomach swelled to look like I was 5 months pregnant. I began having tremors and I started having intensely sharp headaches. The worst part … I was slowly starting to lose my mind.

I would feed my dogs and then 5 minutes later feed them again. I’d get lost driving in familiar places. I’d forget full conversations I’d had just moments before and I was beginning to forget family and friend’s names as well as the spelling of words. I was constantly exhausted, in pain and in a state of confusion. It was the most frightening time of my life. At this point, my family and I agreed that it was time to go to Florida for intense treatment.

I’ve been in treatment now for 4 years. Even with a few relapses here and there, (I got bit a 4th time and actually got the bullseye in 2017), I am still so much better than I was. I still have pain most days, but I can walk without a limp and live a relatively normal life all things considered. It’s been a very long and incredibly expensive experience and without the support of my family, I probably wouldn’t be here today.

I continue to have to follow a strict diet, detox on a regular basis and pay close attention to all of my symptoms. I have to medicate as needed and at one point I was having to take 67 pills a day just to maintain. It was awful and I hated it but, it’s what I had to do. Luckily I don’t take anywhere close to that now. There is light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

May is Lyme disease awareness month and each year I try to do something that can really help our cause. There are so many of us suffering and this year I want to raise money to help with Lyme research as well as funding for those in need of treatment. I do not plan to keep any of the funds for myself as I have been blessed to have angels that have taken care of my finances for me.

Please help me raise money so that we can make a positive difference in the Lyme community. Unfortunately, we are left to fight to be treated and taken seriously and way too many people end up with no quality of life. I want to help fight for those who are too ill to fight for themselves. Had I not started treatment, I would be in a wheelchair right now and that is terrifying.

Please feel free to share this campaign. There is strength in numbers and I am confident that together we can make a tremendous difference. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. Much love to you and God bless you all!

Click here to support Ryan’s May awareness fundraiser for the nonprofit organization, Lyme Warrior.

© Illustration by TML.

How has Lyme Disease affected your life? What inspires you?

This is me at age 7. Based on symptoms and my medical history, this is the age when we suspect I was first infected. I did not receive a diagnosis until I was 24, almost 20 years later. I got sick the way Hemingway says you go broke; “gradually and then suddenly”. My symptoms started with psoriasis, severe anxiety and panic attacks, severe acid reflux and gerd, hallucinations, insomnia, chronic sinusitis, chronic sinus infections, chronic strep and chronic daily migraines.

By my junior year in high school, my health was unrelenting with no apparent cause and my symptoms were only becoming more serious. I had some OCD behavior, was anorexic and the anxiety and panic attacks were through the roof. I never slept and I mean never. I was at the doctor’s constantly and every single time they told me I was fine. I was just “anxious or stressed or both”. I knew they were missing something huge, but there was no one who would investigate past the normal 15-minute appointment.

The next wave of symptoms were even scarier. Neurological and cognitive symptoms all mimicking diseases like; MS and ALS. I was stuttering, couldn’t remember words, or people’s names, couldn’t remember how to get to places I’ve been driving to my entire life. I developed facial palsy on my left side. Couldn’t use my hands, or grip anything and after a lifetime of being an athlete, I could barely make it up a flight of stairs.

The fatigue was unreal. I was barely functioning, barely human. If it wasn’t for a friend who suggested Lyme disease to me and to look into seeing a Lyme literate doctor, I am certain that I would still be searching and would likely be disabled by now. I was diagnosed with and tested positive for the tick and vector borne diseases; Anaplasma, Babesia, and Bartonella. Because the bacteria had been running rampant and unchecked for 20 years, I had also developed Candida, which is systemic yeast, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, hypothyroid Mast Cell Activation, small vessel disease and 22 food allergies. Mainstream medicine missed all of this for two decades.

By the time I saw a Lyme literate MD I had had three negative Lyme tests and been tested for everything else under the sun. In their minds I was making it up. I never got the bullseye rash, I never got the flu like symptoms after a tick bite, that the CDC and mainstream medicine says you have to have. I wasn’t even tested for Lyme disease until I was 23 and I was never tested for other tick and vector-borne diseases.

Ticks are not the only things that carry these diseases; ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, lice, mites and cats for Bartonella specifically all can transmit. They can be passed down in utero, potentially sexually transmitted and through blood transfusions. If you do not treat within a month of being infected and do not treat long enough in the beginning, you’re considered chronic. There is no cure for these chronic infections, you will have them for the rest of your life. You are then fighting for remission and once reached, have to keep your immune system in check to try and prevent a relapse.

I am three and a half years into treatment, by the time I’ve reached remission, it will have been 4 consecutive years of treatment. I completely lost the ability to skate, or really do any kind of exercise, something I’ve been doing since I was 4 years old. I have spent the majority of the last 6 years completely sedentary. I take 80 pills a day, as well as, two spray medications, multiple powders I have to drink and I have a rigorous detoxing schedule which includes; drinking lemon water and aloe, Epsom salt baths and an infrared sauna.

My eyelashes go through cycles of falling out due to the treatment. I haven’t had eyebrows in years, thanks to doctors missing my hypothyroid for over a decade. My hair has thinned and I was forced to chop off several inches and due to having chunks of hair just break off in random selections.

I have gained 25 lbs in inflammation in 4 months and I’ve gone up four pant sizes since I started treatment. The number one thing I hear from people when I tell them I’ve been sick, is how good I look. What you see is layers of literally false pretense; layers of makeup, false eyelashes, fake eyebrows, and my interim clothes. Please don’t forget – Behind the makeup and my happy pictures on Facebook, I have been fighting for my life for the past 4 years.

I have contemplated taking my own life many times during this treatment journey. As it often felt like there was no end in sight, that I would never be well again and that the pain didn’t seem worth the possible outcome. I am now closing in on remission for the first time in 6 years, I am back out on the ice. I am no longer the same person, and I’m not sure how you could be after going through something like this. I haven’t recognized myself in the mirror in a really long time, but I realized that I have to keep fighting to get better and that everything else will come after that.

© Illustration by Kelly Fincher.

How has Lyme Disease affected your life? What inspires you?

My name is Kelly Fincher. I am 31 years old and I have suffered with chronic Lyme disease and its co-infections for over 15 years. I grew up in a small town in South Carolina – where Lyme is unheard of. I can vividly recall the majority of my childhood being spent outdoors. Whether I was in the yard playing with my brother, fishing, or camping with my family, I enjoyed the time I spent in nature more than anything else. I loved exploring the woods, hiking, canoeing, riding bikes, roller blading, swimming – you name it. My fondest memories were those of the nature trail behind our neighborhood; the neighborhood kids, my best friend, my brother and I would explore it nearly everyday. It just never occurred to me that one day, out of the blue I would wake up sick, and probably never get better.

Unfortunately, I never had the absolution of a telltale Lyme disease symptom – no bulls eye-shaped rash, never a tick that could be removed and sent away for analysis and that most coveted of commodities to Lyme patients – concrete answers.

We as kids would come home with all sorts of bites, rashes, and scrapes from the day’s adventures. Who didn’t? After growing up with what seemed to be comparatively uncommon ailments, in both amount and frequency, I muddled through my adolescence confused about what afflictions were unique to my situation, and what was considered “normal” physical and mental issues for someone my age to deal with. I attribute my delayed diagnosis to this challenging time in my life, along with a total absence of information about my illness. My life went on this way until I reached a point in my senior year of high school when I could no longer ignore my symptoms, regardless of the cause. The only thing I was certain of was that something was definitely wrong with me, and that I needed help.

My straight A’s went to B’s and C’s. My ability to concentrate and memorize – gone. I felt as if I had the flu, every day. I experienced striking joint and spine pain, ringing in my ears, sensory hypersensitivity, to the extent of being unable to do simple things like watch television, or even listen to the radio. I randomly caught sharp, offensive odors that I could only describe as harsh chemicals—seemingly out of nowhere. I slowly started to isolate myself when my friends did not understand. Isolation is a lonely word. I felt just that – alone.

One day I awoke with swollen eyelids, lips, and severe hives. My throat was so swollen that I was unable to eat. With no certain answers, my Mother was instructed to crush prenatal vitamins, so that I could retain the nutrients needed on a day-to-day basis. I was then misdiagnosed with mononucleosis. Once the infection subsided, I had my tonsils and adenoids removed. This was only the beginning of what had already gradually transformed into a long journey of misdiagnoses and rejection.

As time passed on, the symptoms grew worse; my joints and hands ached so terribly, I could barely hold a utensil or a pen to write my name. My chest felt as if an elephant were sitting on top of me and I was breathing through cobwebs. The mini seizures kept me from proper sleep, causing more fatigue, and my anxiety level felt like a 12 on a scale of 1 to 10. This is only a short list of my personal symptoms and experiences. Please know that the list is quite extensive and may vary from person to person.

With this disease comes a lot of life changes, and it has taken many things from me. Up to now, I’ve spent nearly half of my life struggling to take control of my health and make progress in conquering this disease that has already claimed so much of my youth and early adulthood. Through all the hardship, life has provided me with many valuable lessons and experiences that I call upon regularly to stay positive, and that I hope to share with others who are in similar situations. I have come a long way, but I am still fighting my battle with Lyme and my body is slowly healing. I am grateful for every bit of my journey, no matter how difficult it has been. This trial has made me humble and appreciative of life and loved ones. If any part of my war with Lyme strengthens another on their journey, then my suffering has been worth it.

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.
–Ernest Hemingway

Special thanks to my husband, my mother, and my father – for all that you have endured for me. Thank you. I love you.
To Dr. D, without you I would not be here to share this.
To Gina, I have seen you conquer wellness. You are truly my inspiration.

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. (Psalm
62:6)

© Illustration by Life in Lyme Light.

How has Lyme Disease affected your life? What inspires you?

Most ill-informed things doctors have said; Being told by a specialist I had waited almost 2 years to see that it was hard for them to believe I was sick since I looked “too healthy” and that I should consider myself Lucky … or maybe when I was told that if I could stop stressing about my symptoms they might just disappear. Or the time the new Dr (never met before and he had never asked about my eating habits or history) assumed I was drinking too much caffeine (never had a cup of coffee in my life and stopped soda & sugary drinks 10 years ago) then suggested I get control of my anxiety since everything else “seemed fine.” Or that I am lucky when I lost almost 40 pounds due to being extremely ill with parasites and when people would find out some women would congratulate and compliment me on how great I looked now that I was finally getting skinny.. Wow ! I didn’t realize how many emotions this question would ignite inside me.

I found so much strength in other people sharing their journey when I first was learning about what I was dealing with. We are all fighters and we can do this together <3

© Illustration by Life in Lyme Light.

How has Lyme Disease affected your life? What inspires you?

I just wanted to share an overview of my story for Lyme Awareness May. In May 2002, I was working full time and on the day I celebrated my birthday in a backyard in Ohio, I pulled a black legged deer tick from my arm thinking it was a spider. I had the bulls eye rash but was not aware of Lyme Disease at the time and did not seek treatment. Today I am not working and trying to maintain on SSI. I still can’t get a positive diagnosis from doctors or accurate testing and on a limited income I’m left to suffer with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a host of other illnesses and surgeries…I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Just wanted to share for awareness.