Last summer is when I was first diagnosed with Lyme Disease. At the time, I had been working with the gas companies as a flagger for a few weeks as a way to make money before school started. I would sit in a truck and radio control trucks coming in and going out of the staging areas and drilling areas of gas pads.

This was a completely different world for me being that I had always worked in restaurants or babysat.

One day I felt something behind my left ear, so I reached back and pulled off a small, round insect. Initially, I thought it was a ladybug or something, but after further inspection I thought that it might be a tick. I held it in my hand and grabbed a napkin from my lunch pail. I knew that if you squeezed a tick, it would pop and there would be a decent amount of blood. I set it in between the folds of the napkin and gently squeezed until it popped. I became a little nervous because I had heard how life changing Lyme could be. I brushed it off until about a week later when I became suddenly ill.

I woke up one morning to swelling and unbearable pain behind my left ear where I had discovered the tick. My body ached from the outside in, and no matter how much I slept, I was fatigued. My appetite was gone and if I did get hungry, even the slightest thing to touch my stomach would give me uncontrollable nausea. I was miserable. I decided if I didn’t feel better in a few days, that I would go to the doctors. My mom insisted I just had a virus up until I developed bulls eye rashes all over my legs and back while sunbathing one day. I scheduled an appointment for the next available date and sure enough my blood test results came back positive for Lyme.

When I first got the diagnosis, I was relieved to know that I could start treatment and be on my way to feeling better. I thought “Thank God it isn’t cancer, or poly cystic ovarian syndrome or something”. Now that I’ve been battling it, I wish that I could eat those words. I’m not arguing that one is worse than the other, but I do know that all diseases suck, even those that I thought were so simple because they were carried by a tiny insect.

During my first round of antibiotics, I tried to be gluten free. I knew that too much gluten intake could cause further internal inflammation and I wanted to prevent that. I only lasted a few weeks before succumbing to bread and pizza temptations.

Some days my antibiotics made me so sick that I would be on the toilet all day, expelling the contents of my body through my bowels. Other days I would be dry heaving, wishing I could just fall asleep and be done with the antibiotics. Sometimes I would feel fine.

I finished my antibiotics in time for move in weekend of college and didn’t have further symptoms until late October, when I started having severe stomach problems again.

There’s been no answer to my stomach problems, and sometimes I’ve cried myself to sleep because of the discomfort. My major is a Bachelor’s in Nutrition and Dietetics. I love food, but it’s so hard to enjoy my major when I don’t have an appetite anymore.

I started and finished another round of Doxycycline this past March. I felt better for a few weeks and then the symptoms took over again. As of right now, I’m working on finding a specialist- so I can treat my symptoms in the best way possible.

It just sucks, not knowing which week is going to be a good week, and which mornings are going to be the worst. I’m so grateful that mine isn’t as advanced as some people’s is, and I can only send well wishes to my fellow Lymies. It’s through community, love, and courage that we fight this disastrous disease.

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