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© Illustration by Life in Lyme Light.

How has Lyme Disease affected your life?

Lyme has affected my life in so many ways. I was so strong when I got bit by the tick that made me sick. I was on a vacation to my home in Georgia. I was visiting my Aunt Ruby who lived across from my Daddy’s house on family land. I grew up playing in woods there. It’s so beautiful. They’re pine trees you can’t wrap your arms around because they’re so big and different mineral springs with the little fiddle ferns growing beside them. We only walked her driveway the day I got my tick. We all, my husband, son & myself found ticks on us later that night  back at home in Tennessee but I missed 1. I found it on my breast days later and had to get needle to remove because it had died.I was working nights, studying for the Apprentice Test at General Motors my  job for 19 years. I was taking care of my 3 yr old during day before work. I ignored the rash (not a bullseye) on my shoulder and blamed it on cheap detergent I had recently bought. I got a really bad headache that I tried to ignore. I blamed it on all the Algebra I was studying after so many years away from High School. Nothing helped the headache and I very rarely ever had headache before. Headache never went away even for 1 minute. I was so tired. Really bad tired.

On the 9th day I lost control of my bowels when I stood up and knew something was wrong. I drove myself to Ambulatory Clinic and Dr. held me there 5 hours testing everything. She came in and asked “Have you been bit by a tick lately?” and I remembered the tick I had to remove with needle. I tested positive for Lyme and 3 other co-infections. She gave me 5 months of Doxycycline. I felt better on them, but all symptoms came back when I would finish dose. She sent me to Vanderbilt CDC because I was still sick. Dr. at CDC came out to where I was sitting and said, “There is no such thing as Lyme disease in state of Tennessee. I agreed to see you because you said you got your tick in Georgia.” Then she spent remaining time trying to convince me I did not have Lyme. I never went back.

I had to have my right jaw replaced because I was hurting so bad and had a nerve that was pinched and would not stop twitching on face. Surgery didn’t stop pain even though Dr. assured me it would. Have constant ringing in ear that has never stopped. Have vertigo that comes without warning and has made me where I don’t leave house much. I have nerve damage to my Inner Ear. Same nerve also controls vision and memory. I have dealt with all this since year 2000. Still have not found Dr to treat Lyme. It’s illegal in Tennessee for Dr to treat Lyme.

I have since inherited the land in Georgia, on which I got Lyme. It took 6 years and a lot of prayer for me to be able to go there. Now I go and spend the night there when I visit my Father. It bothers me because I don’t ever plan on selling the land. It’s been in our family 100 years. I want to hand it down to my son one day. I am worried about him or 1 of his children getting Lyme in the future and then not being able to find a Dr. or can’t afford treatment.

I can’t give blood to Red Cross anymore because it never leaves your body. I was retired with 19 years from General Motors because I was considered a safety risk. I had vertigo on the assembly line. So thankful I worked for a company that had a Union.

I can’t sleep on some nights because of constant ringing. Had Breast cancer and mastectomy 2 years ago. I blame Lyme since it was not genetic. I have constant nerve pain in back. On other side I changed for the better because I got stronger in faith and know God will help me. He has been my constant friend. I have had people who don’t believe in Lyme Disease. Some family and so called, “friends” I understand things now I didn’t before.

I, by chance, caught a CBS news Sunday Morning News show a few years back where a man retired from CDC on Plum Island. He said in interview (and book he had written) how government had hired a scientist from Germany to contract work on Lyme and other Diseases for possible warfare stuff. They tested on cows in open air corals at the time and first case of Lyme appeared in Lyme, Conn. ACROSS the river from Plum Island. This is why they don’t want to acknowledge it. Also, film “Under our Skin” documentary. The 2 Drs. who did film explained how Drs. who sit on panel and make up rules for other Drs. own the Patent for Lyme Disease even though they still deny there is Lyme. It’s political. It’s aggravating and frustrating. IT’S WRONG. It’s also out of my control. I pray God will turn their hearts and do the right thing.

What inspires you?

My husband & my son.  They have been so good to me.

Sometimes when I am having a bad day with vertigo and can’t get up and do what I want I hear my Mom, who for all her life dealt with breathing problems, say, “One day at a time and sometimes 1 hour or minute at a time” And I will think okay, right now I don’t feel well, but maybe in a minute it will be better.

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