Monday, October 25, 2010

My Battle with Lyme Disease (the short story version)

I realize my blog posts are all over the place but I never intended to remain consistent and “chapter” like. So today I write about Lyme disease, this disease has affected me personally and I believe making people aware of it is the first step in helping…...

Here’s my story…

Late summer of 2005, our family went on a wonderful camping trip to the White Mountains. It was a great time filled with lovely memories. About 8 weeks later I began to get sick with flu like symptoms, not thinking much of it since it was flu season. I never fully recovered and lost about 10 lbs. Christmas came and went and my energy level kept plummeting. Keeping in mind that up to this point I was quite active running approximately 5-10kms 3 to 4 times a week, playing basketball plus working fulltime and managing the regular mom duties. I just chalked it up to it being the holidays and thought I’d regain my strength after I caught up on some rest.

In late February of 2006, I came down with strong flu symptoms again, including a fever (daily) and joint pain in my left knee. I never had joint pain in my life so it was very unfamiliar to me. The joint pain went to my left arm/elbow also. Along with this I got a severe sinus infection and was placed on strong antibiotics. The antibiotic treatment improved my symptoms and slowly but surely I was feeling better. One week after completing the antibiotics I started to get all the symptoms back and I was prescribed another strong antibiotic and sent on my way. Meanwhile, I began to have various issues with the left side of my body, not only was I getting joint pain but I had muscle twitches constantly, numbness in my limbs and face. It was a very scary experience as I was faced with new symptoms daily!

My family Doctor referred me to an ENT for my constant sinus infections, he was no help. I then went to an Infectious Disease specialist to look at the constant fevers, flu symptoms, joint pain etc. I remember waiting to go in to see him and fighting back tears wondering what could be happening to my body. I knew something was seriously wrong. I was poked and prodded and my blood was taken and tested for so many things but it kept coming back perfect. Thankful for good results but very frustrated, as I knew this was not in my head…why in the world would I want to waste any of my precious life going from Dr to Dr when I had my amazing family to be making memories with?

Eventually I was referred to a Neurologist by my family doctor. After meeting with the neurologist who was very thorough, it was decided that I get an MRI of my brain as the focus was on MS.

My symptoms were changing daily and I fought it as hard as I could. I still had a family to take care of and work to do. It was the most difficult time in my life; there were days I remember sitting at the desk in tears just trying to get through my work day. I would get home to my 2 young adorable daughters and I’d be so wiped out that I would have to go straight to the couch and crash. Meanwhile my daughters (5 yrs and 3 yrs) would sometimes have to make themselves peanut butter sandwiches for supper if my husband wasn’t home. The girls were wonderful helpers but not something they should have had to do. They missed their mom that used to go for walks and play with them and so did I.

My MRI came back clear thankfully but my symptoms continued to beat me down. My neurologist put me in the hospital for a week to run various tests which included a spinal tap, nerve conduction tests, blood work, and x-rays. She wanted to make sure she wasn’t missing anything. I am very thankful for her thoroughness, she did test me for Lyme but the result came back negative. Everything came back negative.

After about 2 years of tests etc the neurologist sent me to a rheumatologist. I was handed the all too common “fibromyalgia” diagnoses. The rheumatologist sat expressionless and stated you have fibro and there is nothing we can do for you, you have to take care of yourself. Try going to the gym and getting active was her advice. Seriously! I was so wore out and fed up by this point, I quietly walked out of her office in disbelief.

Shortly after this I ran into an acquaintance of mine that had talked to me about Lyme a few times before but I had dismissed it because of my test results. I took it as a sign that maybe I should do something about it….she was my angel in disguise and to this day I am so thankful for her support!

A month later, her and I were having coffee and sending my blood work to the States to be tested. Three weeks later I get the results and sure enough it was POSITIVE for Lyme disease. An amazing dedicated Dr from BC reviewed my results and explained them to me. He also took the time to call my neurologist and explain the treatment I needed. The end result being that my neurologist and family Dr were hesitant and truly did not think it was Lyme. But my family Dr decided she’d seen me go through enough and the treatment that was recommended would not harm me. She treated me and after 7 months of treatment I gained my life back!! Unbelievable! It was a slow process and it was a roller coaster but I am almost 2 years “Lyme free”!!!

I ran a half marathon on Mothers Day in celebration of getting my life back. I know how fortunate I am and am thankful every single day of my life! Thank you to the amazing people who stood by and supported me through this rough road! There is hope and healing can be achieved. Keep fighting it’s worth every minute of it!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We just got back from visiting our families over the Thanskgiving weekend. We spent 5 days at my parents home. We had a lovely time and enjoyed every minute of it. Lots of time spent outdoors and some special visits with grandparents, and I even got out for a run with my old running buddies! Time spent with family and friends now seems to be even more special than when we lived just minutes away. Does distance give us more appreciation of what we have? Or is it that we know our time is limited so we savor the moments more? I’m not really sure what the answer is but whatever the reason, we all seem to have a greater appreciation of our visits now.

This week the full schedule is kicking into high gear with the extracurricular activities all starting up. The kids have gymnastics and basketball practices, plus games on the weekends now. I will be coaching our oldest daughter’s basketball team this year and am really looking forward to it. I have two assistant coaches, so it should be great for the girls and me. My husband’s study schedule is ramping up and he’s pretty much in study mode from dawn to dawn! I have yet to get working (well the paying kind anyway) I’ve been plenty busy but really am looking forward to getting employed!