Lyme: One Year Later

When you’re not well, and you do test after test, after test, and all tests come back “normal” or “within range” you start to lose hope of a diagnosis. Or maybe you do get diagnosed, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but the treatment doesn’t seem to make a difference in your pain or your ability to function.

After Aubrey was born, my health seemed to get steadily worse. My symptoms were stronger, and I was struggling. My father, who has an excellent mind for research and studies, was trying to figure out something to do to help me. One day, he asked me if I would consider being tested for Lyme Disease. It took me a while to agree, and while I agreed, with my past in the medical community, I assumed it would all come back “normal”. When my family doctor declined to order testing for me, we turned to Igenex in the United States.

The Naturopathic Doctor who ordered my tests- sent my test results to me on a weekend. The weekend before I had a follow up appointment for them to interpret the results to me. I spent a whole weekend (along with my husband) reading the test and “interpreting them” based on my newly acquired Internet knowledge.

By the time the morning of my appointment rolled around I was convinced that my test wasn’t “normal”. But hearing those words from the Naturopathic Doctor was still one of the most intense moments I’ve experienced. In one sense, you’re happy. You have some sort of path- or answers. But on the other hand, this answer- doesn’t make things any easier. In Canada, doctors are slow to diagnose, and hesitant to treat Lyme Disease. What would the next steps be? It took me weeks to get used to the idea of this new diagnosis, and a year into it- I’m not quite sure I’m at the point of acceptance.

The year has been full of ups and downs. Some antibiotics make your body so so much sicker. There have been antibiotics that my body couldn’t tolerate and we had to stop. Some bring new symptoms. I’ve been learning to expect the unexpected. Intermittent hearing loss, numb limbs. Symptoms are different each day. I’ve had to learn to lean on people around me, and be humble enough to ask for help on days when I am actually unable to function. Thank goodness for my husband who is my rock. He’s seen me in my worst moments- and loved me through them. My In-laws have been extremely kind and helpful throughout this whole year, and have really supported me by watching the girls whenever I need the relief.

Where does my art fit into this last year? My art has been a saving grace this last year. While I have not had the energy for some of this year to commit to art, and painting has given way to resting- the second half of this year I have been able to pick it back up slowly but surely, and as always painting helps me say things that otherwise is hard to say. My art is directly tied to my heart, my self worth and my soul. I’m doing a lot of work on my self these days- and art will continue to be a big part of my healing.

So, one year in…years and years to go. I am learning to just think about the day at hand- and not worry about what is coming down the road. I am finding ways to be truly present in my life- although I don’t feel well. I really don’t want to pass life by- just being sick- I want to live my best life. This bug isn’t going away. I’ve got to learn to master it. I've got to be the stronger of the two.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I’ll try again tomorrow
— Mary Anne Radmacher