One hike caused years of surgeries, misdiagnosis, depression, chaotic relationships, mental health issues, lost wages, lost potential, and diminished quality of life.

One tick bite, one bullseye rash changed my life forever. I was 23 and did everything right. I brought the tick to the doctor. I was told Lyme didn’t exist in my area. Except it did and not only did it exist but it was thriving in my healthy young body.

Then came diagnosis after diagnosis. Depression, Hashimotos, colitis, autoimmune hepatitis, fatty liver, interstitial cystitis, allergies too endless to list, and endless chronic infections leading to anaphylaxis from antibiotic cocktails. Nerve pain, anxiety, rashes, fevers, vomiting, vertigo, blurred vision, slurred speech, cognitive difficulties… and the list goes on.

It wasn’t until I was 36 years old that contracting a serious zoonotic infection from my cat led me down the rabbit hole of Lyme Disease. I was put on the waiting list for the only doctor who treats complex infectious disease cases. A year later, I still wait as my body loses more function. My MD, and ID have given me maintenance care in the meantime. Patching up my symptoms which allows me to work and a mild reprieve from debilitation.

So what do I do in the meantime? What do I do while I wait for treatment?

-I educate.

-I advocate.

-I push through pain and strengthen my body through exercise.

-I read every credible peer reviewed medical journal I can get my hands on.

-I work at a job I love full time.

-I participate in friends, family, and community.

-I share my story.

I am not Lyme disease. It is a chapter in my story but not the whole book. Chronic illness has stolen many things from me and I will not let that theft define me.

Today I will rest. Tomorrow is a new day to fight.

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