Thursday, January 22, 2015

When Your Loved One Has Chronic Lyme

This post is for those who have family members or friends with Chronic Lyme. Here are ten things to help you understand what a Lymie needs from you.

1. You are needed now more than ever.

Lyme has changed their life. They are hurting and just trying to stay alive. Reach out to them but keep in mind they may be physically or mentally unable to reciprocate.

2. Treatment is crucial.

Lyme has the potential to do major damage. The sooner your loved one gets treated the better. Try to support them anyway you can in this.

3. Something small can cause significant damage.

Lyme is generally caused by a tick bite. A tick is incredibly small but it has the ability to effect every part of the body. Symptoms range from joint pain to memory loss and everything in between.

4. Memory loss is real.

Your loved one may forget things that were scheduled or even your birthday. Try your best to be understanding. I have forgotten many things and thankfully everyone has been gracious but I still feel horrible every time. Memory loss with Lyme can also be as extreme as forgetting the people in your life. Thankfully with treatment memory loss can get better.

5. Don't believe everything you read.

There are numerous lies about Chronic Lyme. The medical community has not caught up with the times so beware of what you read and believe.

6. It's going to get harder before it gets better.

Treatment does not fix everything quickly. In fact, things usually get worse. It's called herxing. Herxing is extremely painful and frustrating but it is a sign that treatment is working. 

7. Encourage.

This could be as simple as a hug or Facebook message. It will mean more than you realize. My best friend once put together a care package full of things I could do while lying down. She included things like craft items and movies. It meant the world to me and encouraged me to keep fighting.

8. Spend time together.

If your loved one is up for it, try to spend time with them. A conversation may be hard so offer to watch a movie at their house or yours.

9. Healing may take a while.

It's taken me three years to get to the point where I am beginning to feel almost normal. I am still exhausted, in pain, and forgetting things but I am far better than I was before. Even though I am feeling better I still need encouragement. I am tired of fighting, I want this season over but I refuse to give up!

10. Pray

Prayer is always the best thing to do and sometimes it may be the only thing you can do. I am incredibly grateful for all the prayers said for me over the years. 

Thank you for reading. Lymies is there anything that you would add to the list? Family and friends anything else you would like to know?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

An Open Letter to Yolanda Foster (and some haters)

Dear Yolanda,

Thank you for the attention you have brought to Chronic Lyme Disease. I admire your bravery in fighting this horrific disease and I am so thankful that you choose to be an advocate despite the harsh criticism you receive.

I read this article when I saw it trending on Facebook earlier this week. A few years ago I wouldn't have been able to even read it. I understand where you are at and I am so sorry. I know some days it feels like you will never get any better but please hold onto hope. 

Thank you for all you have done for the Lyme community and for chronic illness in general. You are touching lives even from your sick bed. I am praying for you. 

With love,


Here are some examples of what you shouldn't say to someone with Lyme Disease. These are real comments about the article I mentioned above. I have heard many similar comments especially from doctors. Skepticism is understandable but kindness is always an option. Also, research is a wonderful tool. 

Dear Stacy.

I assume by "it" you mean Lyme.  Five years ago I could have said that I have Lyme and can still read. But only a year later it started messing with my brain. It caused horrific damage that seems too crazy to believe. But it happened. I truly hope you are one of the "lucky ones" who caught the disease early on. I am sorry you have Lyme and hope you fully recover.

Please try not to judge what you haven't experienced. She speaks the truth, I know because I have been there. Yes, I have struggled to watch television just like Yolanda. There were days that I could only stare at the ceiling. And other days that I could watch television but I couldn't comprehend what was happening. After numerous courses of antibiotics this is not a common occurrence anymore. There is hope.

You mentioned that everyone with Lyme has joint pain. Yes, that's pretty accurate. But I believe Yolanda is trying to talk about the symptoms that most people would never think of. Lyme doesn't only cause joint pain and I am thankful that she is letting others see that.


Dear Mari,

Lyme can cause extreme brain fog and memory loss. A few years ago it took me days to write a short blog post. I still don't understand how I managed to write. Some days it was impossible but other days I pushed through it. Most of those blog posts I had another adult read over because I had no clue if it made sense. I suspect Yolanda has done the same. 

As Michele articulated, you shouldn't judge. 


Dear David,

Really? A blonde joke? I would suggest doing some research on Lyme. It is far scarier than you could imagine. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Yeah, it really is that bad!


Sunday, January 18, 2015

So you have Chronic Lyme Disease. Now what?

I was inspired to write more about Chronic Lyme Disease. Some of this may pertain to other chronic illnesses but for right now Lyme is my focus. I have a few more blog post ideas but I am also open to suggestions. Without further ado, ten things a newly diagnosed Lyme patient needs to know...

1. You are not alone

Some days you might feel like no one could possibly understand what you are going through. Trust me, I have been there. I now have a few "real life" friends with Lyme and have also met some great friends through Facebook support groups. I can't tell you how thankful I am to have met people who truly understand what I am going through.

2. The sooner you get treated the better.

Lyme is a vicious disease and has the ability to effect every part of your body. But the sooner you catch it the easier it is to get under control. Unfortunately for me I was undiagnosed for fourteen years. Which gave Lyme Disease the chance to mess with just about everything. This does not mean that I am without hope though! It will just take longer to get under control.

3. Unfortunately it's going to get harder before it gets better.

With every new treatment the Lyme will fight back. It can be brutal but it does get better. This reaction is called herxing.

4. It could be hard for friends and family to understand. 

Lyme is a mind boggling disease. The best advice I can give you is to try not to hide everything from your loved ones. When I got sick in 2011, I was very afraid to let others see me so ill. But the more I let them in, the more they could understand.

5. It's okay to ask for help. 

I had a very hard time with this as well. Asking for help felt like I was succumbing to Lyme. When in fact the more help I received the more energy I could put into fighting Lyme. Many people want to help, so let them. Living life together is a beautiful thing.

6. Doctors might not believe you.

Doctors are generally taught that Chronic Lyme does not exist. They believe that a few weeks of antibiotics will cure you but this is only true if you just contracted Lyme. In order to get the best treatment you will want to find a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD).

7. Treatment can be expensive.

Many insurance companies do not cover treatment and everything adds up quickly. There are organizations that can help cover the cost if you can't afford it. Talk to your doctor about better pricing if you pay in cash. When you get a new prescription call around to several pharmacies to find the best price. Here is a good list on getting treatment with a limited budget.

8. You might change and that's okay!

I am a firm believer that trials like Lyme are a refining process. When bad things happen it's up to you to choose to look at the good instead of the bad. You would be surprised at the things you are thankful for like having the energy to do laundry! You can also be more sympathetic towards those who are struggling in life. I have learned life-long lessons through this horrible disease.

9. Be kind to yourself.

There are a lot of things that you may have trouble doing. Cleaning, cooking, socializing, etc. Know that your job right now is to beat the Lyme. If all you can do today is stay in bed, eat, and take your medication...that is okay!

10. Don't give up

Treating Lyme is a long and difficult process. You may feel like giving up, but please don't. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The progress you see may be slow but it all adds up! Keep fighting, you got this!

Many thanks to my amazingly talented sister for the photos. Trust me folks, you do not want to see what these would have looked like if I was behind the camera. Also, thanks to my family who listened to me talk about my ideas and who posed in photos.