Sunshine in the Valley

humor and encouragement from my heart to yours

When life hands you lemons…(or Lymes…)

on April 29, 2012

I have not written here in a long time. There are some very good reasons for that, but I’ve been thinking very much about how much I miss blogging. Not that I was ever a prolific writer :), but I do enjoy it. I’m thinking I should update things before continuing with other posts, though, especially in light of my last entry. Reading back over it, I smile ruefully and shake my head. I was so excited over the apparent answer that ended up being only a tiny part of the puzzle. I am thankful for the joy I experienced at that time :), but the tiny disclaimer I added (“unless there are other underlying problems we are unaware of”….) ended up being more prophetic than I imagined at the time.

I have chronic Lyme disease.

I knew very little about Lyme prior to my diagnosis, and had actually been tested for it last year with negative results. (I have since learned that this particular test misses 80% of Lyme cases) But the Lord blessed me with a doctor who investigates and researches with an open mind, and he approached me earlier this year about having further testing performed that is much more accurate than the previous test he had ordered. He strongly believed that this was the root cause of my many baffling symptoms, the answer which had eluded us for so long. I readily agreed to have further testing, and once again waited with anxious hope that maybe at last we would truly find out what was wrong.

We took this step because after a few wonderful weeks of feeling better after upper-cervical adjustments, my symptoms returned with a vengeance. I was becoming more and more debilitated, and my deteriorating condition was really scaring both me and my loved ones. Dr J sent me to a wonderful chiropractic neurologist who discovered that I was having problems in my brain stem and left cerebellum (which is why correcting my neck problem did help for a while) and eventually figured out that I was having seizures deep in my brain. We did not recognize them as such initially, because I lose all voluntary function when they occur but do not lose consciousness, unlike “typical” seizures. Something was causing certain areas of my brain to be unhealthy, and we were initially perplexed as to what it could be.

The Lyme test explained everything.

When it came back positive, and my CD-57 white blood cell count came back so low it was almost non-existent, we knew we were on to the real issue here….the true source of all my physical problems for the past 2-3 years. Borellia spirochetes were attacking parts of my brain, inducing seizures, weakness, insomnia, pain, coordination problems, and many other issues. We had a PICC line placed in my arm to begin intravenous Rocephin, and the immediate difference was nothing short of remarkable. Seizure meds alone had not kept things under control, but the antibiotics did! We were finally (finally!) attacking the root cause of everything, rather than just managing symptoms, and it could not be more clear that we were indeed on the right track.

The fight goes on, and probably will continue for the forseeable future. This will be a long journey. Some say that advanced Lyme is incurable, or at least impossible to completely eradicate, and can take months and years to get under control. I am determined to prove that wrong. :) I am taking numerous herbal supplements and have radically altered my diet, which definitely is helping. I am researching and doing all I can to beat this thing. But we are having to take it a step at a time, as treatment must be tailor-fit for each patient. Already, we have needed to change my antibiotics regimen when things began spiraling downhill again. There are days when Herxheimer reactions hit as the Lyme dies off with treatment and floods my body with poisons, causing severe pain and weakness. But I know we are on the right track! Even when I have rough days, the knowledge that we are still moving forward fills me with hope for the future. One day I will be well again! In the meantime, I savor each good day I am given….and that number has been increasing lately.

The fact that I have gotten answers in less than 2 years is something for which I am truly thankful, because as I am researching Lyme and coming across others suffering from this, I find it is unusual to find the diagnosis so quickly. Many others have gone through far worse things than I have. It may have felt like an eternity to me, but in actuality was much quicker than the norm. I have much to be thankful for.

I’m discovering, too, that new friends are to be met on this journey. Through my own story I am finding that I can relate to others going through similar illness, and help some of them find the same answers I did. This brings so much meaning to the suffering of the past couple years! God always has a purpose, a reason for these things, and I love it when He gives us even a glimpse of the big picture! :D After all, this isn’t just about me. This is about His glory and being used by Him for His purpose to help others and be a testimony of His grace, even when it involves pain and a chronic condition that I would never have chosen for myself. I’m thankful that He is always wiser than I am, that He allows pain in my life in order to reveal how deep and wide His grace is–always there the moment I need it– and how much He loves me even while letting me suffer. I see myself more clearly, too, and the areas that need work. I see the suffering of those around me in a far more compassionate and understanding way, because I have been there. I am given the opportunity to comfort as I have been comforted by God. What a privilege!

If I can be of any help to others dealing with similar problems–especially if you are still searching for answers–please do not hesitate to contact me. I would love to help, if I can! For those interested in learning more about Lyme disease, the documentary “Under Our Skin” is quite informative and is available on Netflix and YouTube.

But for those of you who are well and are finding your eyes glazing over as you read :), please don’t think this will be a blog all about my health problems. It won’t be.  Lyme may be part of my life right now, but it does not define me. I shared all this to avoid future confusion, and potentially help others who are sick, but I will be posting about many different things besides just Lyme. :) So don’t run off, k? :)

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