HEALTH AND LYME



My Story:

The fall after I graduated from high school was an exciting time for me. I was dancing with Odyssey Dance Theatre while attending Brigham Young University. Really I was mostly a crazy person for trying to pursue both my education at the same time as a professional dance career, but being the type A lady that I am, I figured I could handle it. And I did. For a month, I performed every night Monday through Saturday while simultaneously pulling A’s in all of my classes. Really it was a full on miracle that I was able to do everything! As the month progressed with Odyssey’s show, all of my coworkers were building stamina. The performance is full out cardio all of the way through, and somehow overtime their bodies were becoming more and more adjusted to the intensity. Mine however, was not. Each night was harder and harder, and the stage started to spin a little while I performed each number. Something was off, but I simply didn’t have time to address it. Finally when our last show ended, I had a chance to take a breath and figure out what was going on with me. The show ended on a Wednesday, and by Saturday I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I was being smothered by an unbearable exhaustion, and I called my mom from my musky dorm room to let her know that I needed to see a doctor about this. 

The months following this initial crash were extremely challenging. I had blood test after blood test done. I saw a myriad of doctors who stared at me with utter confusion on their faces. Each thinking they knew what was wrong with me, but were surprised when they couldn’t find answers within my blood work. Some doctors told me that, “some people are just tired." I stared at those doctors with absolute disgust. I was on the cusp of my career. I was ready to pursue my dream full force and they had the audacity to say that perhaps this was just what I was supposed to live with? Or that perhaps I might be faking my symptoms? Believe me, I wanted to be healthy. I didn’t have time to be sick. So I kept searching.

Nothing could keep my angel mother from hunting for answers for me. I had just graduated, and suddenly, caring for me was more time consuming than it had probably ever been. I spent ten months sleeping twenty hours out of my day. I would wake up to go to my classes at BYU, only to fall back asleep in them as well. This once solid student, was pulling C’s on tests that I should have aced. Teachers would speak to me and the migraine in my head would be so bad it was all I could do not to scream out at them. I couldn’t remember names or numbers let alone lecture notes. I would get in my car to drive to a specific destination only to find myself completely lost and on the opposite side of town than I had hoped to be. I was uncomfortable all of the time and couldn’t figure out why. I tried treatment after treatment and protocol after protocol. Doctors started guessing on possible diagnosis’s and gave me treatment plans that were ineffective. Suddenly I started questioning my own sanity. Am I doing this to myself? Is  this a normal way to feel? Does everyone feel like the bones in their skull are crushing in on them and they are just taking it? I have always had a high pain tolerance, but this was a kind of pain I didn’t even know how to understand. 

Finally after a year and a half of searching and testing and running myself around in circles, my doctor said we should test for Lyme Disease. I had never even heard of it before, but my mom felt uncomfortable testing for it. It is a common misconception that Lyme can only be found on the East Coast, and so no body thought that there was anyway this was even a possible diagnosis. This doctor waited to test me for it last because it was really not that likely. Finally though, he felt we had ran out of options, and thought we may as well not leave any stones unturned. He took my blood, and my tests came back positive. I had Lyme disease. 

I remember getting the phone call from the nurse telling me that my tests came back positive. I was studying for a test in school that I knew I was going to fail no matter how hard I tried to read the material. The kid I was studying with looked absolutely baffled as I jumped out of my chair and screamed, “Yes! I have Lyme disease!” I was overjoyed to find that I had something I could fight. I had been throwing punches at ghosts for so long, I was just happy to get my hands on something tangible. Unfortunately in turns out, Lyme bacteria is brilliant. They hide and morph and build and ruin your body by turning it against you. They don’t want to die, and they know just how to handle antibiotics. I have done oral treatment as well as IV treatment. I have followed intense regiments and hit this disease at every angle. My body has been through more than I can fully express here. I have made progress, and get better little by little each day, but I still I have a bit to go. 

I have been beaten down over and over again the past few years physically, mentally and emotionally. This is hard. Anyone experiencing debilitating chronic illness will tell you this. But I’m gonna win the war. Someday I will stand whole and free. And then I will tell many of you, how your lives can change too. 

Advice:
The most important thing I can say is that if you are sick and struggling, and a doctor tells you your labs come back with nothing wrong with them, don’t you dare quit. Your health is one of the most valuable things you will ever own. Without it, life becomes an empty space for you to crawl through in mighty pain without hope. That is not what life was made for. We will all overcome. Many of you who are struggling to find either a diagnosis or a cure will not have lyme disease, but some other rare challenge that I pray we can discover and cure for you. BUT, if you cannot find out what is wrong with you, and no doctor has tested you for lyme, I suggest you find an adequate doctor who is “lyme-literate,” to see if you might be battling this tick-born illness as well. PROPER DIAGNOSIS IS ESSENTIAL FOR PROPER HEALING. 

Shout out, ring the bells and raise awareness. Take a bite out of lyme, and lets find hope for everyone out there inflicted with this disease. 

xoxo,
Hay

http://www.ilads.org

http://www.tiredoflyme.com




2 comments:

  1. Did you get my previous message??? I just watched your GTU interview. Good job!

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  2. Thanks for your post, Haley! I am actually in the exact same boat... I'm studying at BYU and got Lyme on my mission, so my world has been a little crazy lately. It's sad to hear when others have to go through this too, but it's always nice to know we aren't alone! :)

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