Crossing The Finish Line

In my first post, I declared that I would no longer let Lyme rule my life.  I would not suffer from Lyme disease, I would live with Lyme disease.  I find myself writing a new mantra: I will live.  And that is all.  I am overjoyed to announce to the world that I have been cured from Lyme disease.

Last week, I had a visit with my Lyme doctor.  We reviewed my recent test results for Lyme disease and found them to be clean and clear.  No more active infection.   That’s it–done.  8 years of illness, 3 years of treatment, and now I’m done.

Before I started writing this post I reviewed my old posts to remind me what it was like.  Gosh I was sick.  I was SO SICK!!!  And I’ve been feeling so much better and my life has improved by leaps and bounds that I got all caught up and forgot to slow down and appreciate everything.  I can do stuff, I can go places; I have friends, I have a job!  Since I started this blog, I have graduated college, started working full time, fell in love, and got married.  My life today compared to my life at the time I started this blog are drastically different!

My days then were so full of pain and nausea; I was limited in EVERYTHING and I battled with depression when my recovery didn’t go according to plan. And now here I am–a free woman!  Free as a bird, able to go anywhere and do anything!  I could climb a mountain, run a marathon, start a business, travel the world, become the best of the best at anything I set my mind to.  Why?  Because there’s nothing to limit me!  The sky is the limit!  And even then I could become an astronaut if I wanted to, and then not even the sky would limit me!

Do you understand the significance and magnitude of this life-changing news?!  For the past 8 years, I have been defined by an illness, a disease.  Days, weeks, months, and even years of my life have rolled agonizingly past me, leaving me behind and stuck in bed.

I didn’t even know who I was when I started this blog!  I asked myself, what am I like?  Am I driven? Independent?  Am I someone people would look up to?  Am I a leader?  Am I funny?  Am I fun to be around?  Because I didn’t know the answers to these questions.  Lyme entered my life in the latter part of my childhood and into my early adulthood.  I had never discovered who I am as an adult–the symptoms had suppressed my personality and drive to do anything.   Guess what?  I’m awesome.  I’m an amazing person.  I’m proud of the adult I am.  And I don’t say that to be conceited–I really mean it!  I’m funny!  I crack jokes all the time and I tell funny stories that people genuinely laugh at!  I’m really driven and very independent.  I am a leader, and I’m compassionate and caring, and I love helping others.  I love getting up early and going to work.  I love being a part of a church.  I make a great wife too!  (Just ask my husband!) I am proud of who I am.  Because you know what?  It was stinkin’ hard to get here.

Reading those blog posts reminded me of how much I struggled just to walk halfway around the block.  Now my husband and I go on hikes, and I hit up the gym several times a week for strength training.  I was too ill to work when I started, but now I work full-time, and I love my job!  I couldn’t drive, and now I drive 2 hours every day!  I couldn’t eat certain foods, and now I can eat anything! I was living with my parents, and now I’m living in our own house with my husband!  I used to cry at night because of debilitating pain, and now I snore away when my head hits the pillow!  I took one class a semester, and now I’ve graduated college, and I’m continuing my education.  And ya know what?  A few months back, I wanted to give up.  I was tired.  I was tired of fighting, tired of pills.  I was resigned to live the rest of my life with Lyme disease and stop trying to actively fight against it.  My wedding was coming up and I was severely disappointed that I would have to “carry Lyme” with me down the aisle.  But the funny thing is, we ran those tests and I was supposed to review them before my wedding!  WHICH MEANS I DIDN’T HAVE LYME WHEN I WALKED DOWN THE AISLE.  That’s right.  This strong healthy woman walked down that aisle and married that handsome hunk of a man, and there weren’t any Lyme present at the wedding.  I am walking into this next chapter of my life for the first time, without Lyme. 

So where do I go from here?  Well, I’m not off the recovery path yet.  I beat Lyme, but I still have to kick out all the mold overgrowths that invaded when my immune system was bugged down with Lyme.  And the doctor wants me to do one more round of antibiotics, “just in case” I “might” have a little touch of Bartonella to clean up.  And I do still have mild joint pain.  It seems Lyme left behind an inflammatory arthritic condition.  So I still have some work to do.  But the major battle is out of the way!  I won the war!  And now I just have to do the clean up.

As for the distant future, I am at risk of a relapse.  See, the little spiral-shaped nasties can drill down into the body and even convert into cyst-forms that can hide from the immune system. They can lie dormant in my organs and ligaments and then pop out in a few years or decades and try to take over again.  But I know the symptoms, and I’ll be watching closely.  The minute those ugly beasties pop up their ugly little heads I’ll have my doctor on speed dial to fire off a volley of antibiotics to beat them back again.

But that might never occur, and until then, I’ll be living my life to the fullest, as happy as a clam with my husband, marching boldly forward into this new thing called “health” and exploring all it has to offer.  I will go on adventures!  I will accomplish great feats!  I will be an exemplary character in this thing called “life”! And I will be grateful for every day God has given me on this green earth.

May I never forget where I came from, the people that got me here, and the lessons God has taught me along the way.  Thank you all for your prayer, support, and encouragement.

To my fellow Lymies, keep your head up!  I know it’s hard, I know it’s the hardest thing in the whole world to keep fighting.  Hang in there and don’t give up.  Because life can be beautiful and being healthy is a wonderful dream to achieve.

 

-LymeDiseaseVictor

Cautiously Living the Dream

I have not been a very consistent blogger in quite a while. A lot has happened since my last post. First, a general update:

I am continuing to plan my upcoming summer wedding.  We are getting down to just 4 months now!  My fiance and I got a little behind with all of it and have yet to actually invite anyone, or do many other wedding-related things we really need to get done.

I am still working full-time at the front desk in a bustling healthcare company.  I am doing really quite well and have earned the respect of my coworkers and those above me.  I have been asked to step in to a higher role during the interim of that person’s absence.  I am currently training for the position and am excited to stretch my wings when I get the chance to take over for the time being.

In my usual fashion, I decided that planning a wedding and working full time wasn’t keeping me busy enough, so I’ve gone back to school to finish my Bachelor’s degree.  I’m attending 100% online and am only taking the introductory course as of yet.  My word I’m so busy now that I almost regret it–why didn’t I wait until after I was married?  But it’s too late to drop now, so I’ll just have to continue burning the candle at both ends for a few more weeks until I finish this class.

Now, for a health update:  I am cautiously optimistic.  Optimistic because I am working full-time, taking a college class, and planning my wedding and I’m still able to function and do well at these pursuits.  Cautiously because I’m not quite out of the woods yet and I fear a return of my symptoms in the future.

As of right now I’m am only experiencing minor to moderate arthritic joint pain whenever it’s about to rain, or I’m PMSing, or I’m coming down with a cold.  Otherwise, I typically don’t experience joint pain on a daily basis now.  Still dealing with a touch of nausea here and there, but that may be linked to my diet slipping back to unhealthfulness here and there.  (Pizza tastes so good)

I’m not on any medications of any kind right now.  No antibiotics, antivirals, anti-fungals, nothing.  I’ve also cut back my vitamin and supplement intake to just a daily multivitamin.  That’s right, I’m only having to swallow one pill-like object a day. Considering the great number of things I used to take, I am thrilled with just having to take one.🙂  In about two months, my doctor will have me pulse on a bunch of antibiotics for about ten days and then see her again.  I’m to watch for symptoms until then, with fingers crossed that nothing bad happens.

I attribute my current success to three major factors: 1) I’ve been going to the gym twice a week to train with the most wonderful trainer in the world for an hour.  This has increased my stamina and range of motion to no end!  And it has reduced my pain levels to barely anything on most days.  2) I visited a chiropractor twice a week for weeks, along with a full body hour massage at least 4 times.  Both of these helped correct my posture and workout my tight muscles, further reducing my pain levels.  3)  By far above all other factors, the main reason I am doing so well is due to the love, support, and encouragement I receive on a daily basis from my fiance.  That man is never-ending with his praise and admonition; I could accomplish anything with him at my side–I can certainly beat Lyme!  He will run out and fetch anything, at any time of day, if he feels that it would help me recover or will improve my comfort.  He keeps me optimistic and positive, and celebrates every accomplishment.  He’s there for me when I have a setback or a bad day, never making me feel guilty for my needs, always making me feel safe, loved, and appreciated.  I would have never made it so far in my life and health at this point if it hadn’t been for this man, God’s biggest blessing in my life.  <3

Thank you for reading my update, and for following along on my health journey.  Please continue to pray for healing, specifically that I will continue to get better without symptoms returning and Lyme relapsing.

And for my fellow Lymies out there, hang in there.  Life after Lyme is so worth it.  I know it can be hard to remember at times, but life actually can be lived pain free, focusing on the beauty of a day instead of it’s problems.  I’m here if you need someone to chat with; I have a lot of experience dealing with different symptoms and would be happy to share advice or just a listening ear.  You can reach me at lymelightfight@gmail.com.

Yours truly,

LymeDiseaseWarrior

I’m Engaged!

😀

That’s right, readers!  My man popped the question! 🙂

I am now busily planning my wedding for the summer of next year.  So many things to do, and so little time!

For my married readers, do you have any advice on planning a summer wedding?  Especially any advice about a wedding with a chronic illness?  I want to make sure I’m feeling well and not distracted on my wedding day.🙂

In other news, I am thriving at work.  I’ll admit, the first month on the job was very difficult to pull through.  The stress was hard on me, and my body took a hit.  I’d come home and feel so tired I would have to go to bed almost immediately.  The nausea and joint pain was also worse.  But with a change of pills, and mostly just getting used to the job, I’m feeling a lot better now. 🙂

Thank you for keeping up with me on my life!❤

~Lymediseasewarrior

P.S. Questions, comments, a story to share?  Comment below or email me at lymelightfight@gmail.com.

Life is Good

sunshine sky

My dear readers,

Some time has passed since my last post.  It’s about time I gave you all an update.

In my last post, I announced I was going through my last finals week of college.  I am pleased to say that not only did I survive, but the grades are in!  After taking 21 1/2 units, I succeeded in achieving an A in every single class.  To crown this achievement, I walked at graduation, and have officially received my Associate’s degree.  Graduation day was an emotional day for me, a day I once thought I’d never see.  But with God’s grace and the help of many people along the way, I did it–and I did it well.

I also mentioned in my last post, that I was having trouble breathing.  So, I saw an allergist.  And after examining me, he determined that my airways were 80% blocked–not a lot of air was getting in.  A scratch test revealed I am severely allergic to nearly every living green thing–and cats, and mold, and dust.  Is it any wonder I couldn’t breathe?!  So, I’ve been taking allergy meds and I am feeling a lot better.

But actually, my allergies were really just compounding a problem, rather than being the cause of my breathing problems.  I recently went back to my Lyme doc, and we reviewed my most recent (a few months earlier) Lyme blood tests.  She was quite surprised.  My bloodwork shows that it is highly likely that I was recently (within a few months) re-infected, this time with Babesia.  This means, that I once again out of all the other people in this world; was bit and infected, and picked up another disease to fight.  Seriously.  I was horribly disappointed to hear this.  A common symptom of Babesia is ‘air hunger’; feeling like you just aren’t getting enough air.  It feels kind of like you are really thirsty, but no matter how much water you drink, you don’t feel like it’s enough.  THIS explains what was going on during finals week.  Thankfully, the treatment for Babesia and Lyme are pretty much the same; so although I was disappointed to hear this, I am feeling better and am not too worried.

The good news is my Lyme antibodies were lower than they have ever been before.  I have made huge improvement!  I only showed minimal signs of infection in 1 or 2 antibodies; everything else was negative.  So, my health continues to improve.  I am feeling a lot better (haven’t had breathing problems in a while), and so we have decided to continue winding down my treatment regimen.  At my next appointment, should I continue to feel well; we will discuss pulsing my meds, which is the final step in treating Lyme disease.

My body is healing well!  I am able to do things all day long and still have energy for more. :)  This past weekend I went with a couple friends on a five mile hike.  And while I was exhausted during the hike, I recovered quickly afterwords and still had the energy to play games.  I was very sore the next day, but my joints didn’t hurt.  It was just muscle soreness like you’d expect when an out-of-shape person goes on a five mile hike.

As for the rest of my life, beyond health; I’d have to say it’s amazing and continues to get even better.

After graduation, I went job hunting.  And I landed a ton of interviews and was so pleased.  I rocked each interview, ended up with several job offers; and finally accepted a position at a front desk in a medical office.  My first full-time big girl job.  Hurray!!!  I am beyond excited and can hardly wait to start.

Thank you all for reading.  I hope my continued successful recovery story will inspire all you other Lymies out there!  The treatment works–stick with it!  Life is so worth it!

~LymeDiseaseWarrior

Finals and Air Hunger

Hello my followers!

It’s about time I gave you all an update.  The crazy-busy semester has been coming to a close, with finals next week.  I’m on track to get A’s in all my classes, however; my math final may ruin the streak for this semester.  We shall see. 🙂

As for my continual progress with Lyme disease, I’m taking steps forward and backwards. I’m having a very difficult time keeping consistent with taking my pills.  In my last appointment, we upped the dosage of my doxycycline and Cefidnir higher than I’ve ever taken them before.  The Cefdinir I’m taking three times a day, and it is a tough pill to take.  The side effects are awful.  Every time I take it, I feel nauseous, dizzy, exhausted, and a lose my appetite.  I am, however, working hard to continue my fight against Lyme.  I bought a Pilates dvd, and intend to get in the habit of using it.  Although taking my pills is hard, I’m trying my best and I’m finding it easier to do so now that my classes are winding down.

In the past couple days, I’ve had spells of great difficulty breathing. Each breath I take leaves me unsatisfied.  :(  I’ve been short of breath, experiencing air hunger in the past; however, I’ve never experienced it at this level.  I’ll be calling my doctor tomorrow to see what she wants to do.  It seems from a little internet searching, I may be in need of either iron supplements or oxygen.  O.o

“Air hunger” is a symptom of Babesia and Bartonella–common co-infections with Lyme disease.

We’ll see what the doc says.  I’d appreciate your prayers, as breathing seems to be a very important function of day to day living, and not being able to do it efficiently is uncomfortable.

Thank you❤

~Lymediseasewarrior

Progress Update!

bright future

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit with my Lyme doctor once more.  The visit was mostly positive, and we both feel that I am still on track with recovery.

Upon visual examination, my doctor was concerned that my left eyelids were contracting more than my right.  After asking me several questions, she became concerned that I may be experiencing a touch of Bell’s palsy–facial paralysis on one side of the face.  She was not overly concerned, however; as I am continuing to progress with recovery and Bell’s palsy typically clears up on its own.

She was more concerned about the debilitating menstrual cramps I’ve been suffering, and the fact that I still miss school and work even on Tylenol and Advil due to these pains.  So she decided to run some tests to determine a cause.  As odd as it sounds, I’m hoping I have one of those things, because they can account for joint pain too, and they’re curable.  So if I have it, maybe I don’t have arthritis and I can get rid of ALL my symptoms.  But we’ll see.

As for my joint pain, it’s been pretty consistently there; always much worse when it’s about to rain.  We’re still puzzling out what that could be.  It’s possible it’s arthritis, sparked by but not related to Lyme; or it could be Lyme arthritis, which would mean I still have Lyme; or it could be one of those other things we’re testing for.  We shall see.  We are running the Lyme tests again to determine if I still show signs of an active infection, along with tests for arthritis and other conditions that may cause these problems.

In the end, we decided to move forward with changing up my pill regimen.  She took me off three different medicines, put me back on one, and now I take 19 less individual pills each week.  Currently I’m on Famciclovir, Doxycycline, Fluconazole, Acyclovir, and Cefdinir.

For supplements I’m taking Vitamin C, E, D3, and K; garlic oil, evening primrose oil, selenium, manganese, zinc piccolinate, bromelain, Kaprycidin-A, Methyl Guard, Co-enzyme B Complex, SamE, Omega 3 Fatty acids, veggie capsules, loratadine, milk thistle, Metagenics Ultraclear Plus, Grapefruit seed extract, colostrum and probiotics.  And to help me sleep I take melatonin, Tylenol PM, and L-Theanine.  That may seem like a long list, but I’m taking a little less than I used to, and where I used to take some of these things three times a day I now only take them once or twice.

As for life in general, everything continues to increase in wonderfulness.  I am in my last semester of college.  I will be graduating next month with an Associate’s in Communications and a Certificate in Medical Office Reception.  I have a whopping class load of 21 units!  Yes, you read that right.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that it wasn’t that long ago that I struggled with 6 units of online classes.  Well, I’ve come a long way!  :)  My brain is working again, and I find myself excelling like I used to do.  I’m known as the smart student in all but my math class (which was never my strong subject anyways), and am frequently entreated for help by the other students.  Three different professors have told me how impressed they are with my intelligence, self-confidence, and work ethic, and have stated that I will “go far in life.”  I cannot tell you how much hearing those words means to me.  I went from struggling to string together one on-topic, coherent paragraph in less than three hours, to being able to write essays and speeches galore without a hitch. I can drive to and from school, and event he longer distances to my doctor’s appointments.  I remember things, can think with clarity, and can communicate coherently. I am enjoying life!  I look forward to tomorrows, I’m excited for a new day.  I have dreams and goals, and I am working to achieve them!  I tell you, long-term antibiotics work and I am living proof of that.

So hang in there, Lymies!  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  And if you need anything; prayer, advice, encouragement–shoot me an email or comment below.  I’d love to help you out on your journey, just as so many of you helped me on mine. (lymelightfight@gmail.com)

Love you all,

~LymeDiseaseWarrior
lymelightfight@gmail.com

Best Appointment Ever—The Final Phase?

finish line

Today I met with my Lyme doctor.  She and her staff were pleasantly surprised to hear me shout “fantastic!” when they asked how I’ve been doing.  I proceeded to inform them of how I’m doing.  I’m taking seven classes this semester, twenty-one units.  And I love it.  I’m on top of all my homework, I’m even ahead!  I can read, write, listen, take notes, and understand to a level I have not been at since before I had Lyme.  I’m the smart student in the class again.  I have other students asking me for help, and not the other way around.  I’m known as the person to beat in my debate class.  I’m going to graduate come May.  Following graduation I’ll start in an internship for Medical Office Reception, after which given my experience I should have no problem finding a job offer.

When I filled out my symptom sheet, I put zeros where once there were sevens.  In fact, I only marked two symptoms; joint pain and stiffness.  And those were only a two.

After hearing everything, and examining my labs, my Doctor was thrilled to say how proud she is of me.  She is thrilled with how far I’ve come, and how quickly considering it can take many years to cure Lyme disease.  She was pleased to report that my most recent labs showed almost no inflammation in my body.  I have not had a clear inflammation reading in seven years.  It’s a big deal.

She did say that my joint pain could be arthritis, initiated by Lyme, but not caused by it.  Or it could still be just a touch of Lyme that my body is working on.  In other words, my joint pain may never go away, I may already have beat Lyme.  But I don’t care if it stays, it’s so manageable now compared to before.  And it only ever really acts up when it rains.  And I’ve developed a high pain tolerance.

But did you catch that?  She said I might be done.  I MIGHT BE DONE WITH LYME DISEASE.  I BEAT IT, FOLKS!  I WON!!  Either that or I’m reeeeeeally close.

She wants to initiate the final phase of Lyme treatment.  She’s hinted at it before, but this is the first time it’s actually on the table as part of our plan.  Starting after the semester, since we don’t want to disrupt my busy schedule, and as long as everything continues to go well, we will start pulsating my antibiotics.  Meaning I’ll go on them for a week or two, then go off, and then on, and so on.  After pulsating for a few months, I go off them.   I STOP TAKING PILLS. O.O  And then we wait and see. . . And if all goes well, (PLEASE PLEASE GO WELL) I’ll have taken my last pill for Lyme.

She described it as, “I can see you are very near 100%.”  Three years ago I would have said “30%” if you asked me the level of my health.  I’ve gone up almost 70% in the past two years that I’ve been on treatment for Lyme.  It’s been the longest, hardest journey I will probably ever take.  And it was worth every minute.

As I drove away from the office, I burst into tears of sheer joy.  I could not believe the amazing blessings God has given me.  For seven years I have fought this disease.  And for five of those years I thought I would never have a good life.  As my health worsened, my big dreams and plans dwindled down to nothing, to the point that I could only see a future for me as a lonely invalid.  I even thought I might die.  Then I started on my Lyme treatment, and my dreams began to grow again.  And grow and grow they did until two years later now when I am filled with joy and hope for my future.  I am excited for tomorrow, for next week, next month–for every year to come!

My experience with Lyme has prepared me for anything the future may hold.  I have overcome fear, anger, anxiety, depression, pain, and nearly every symptom you could imagine.  And through it all I have learned patience, love, joy, perseverance, and faith.  I have discovered and developed an inner strength and fortitude hardened by the pangs of illness.  It will keep me going throughout my life.

Thank you, my readers, for coming along with me on my journey so far.  Your comments, likes, and even just a ‘view’ have all been so encouraging to me along my the way.  Having your support and encouragement has meant the world to me!  Please continue to support me as I enter the final phase in the next few months.🙂

For those of you who are Lymies, I say stick with it!  Lyme disease CAN be cured.  I know it’s hard and it seems like it takes for ever, but keep fighting.  A bright future is ahead. Let’s beat Lyme together!

~LymeDiseaseWarrior

P.s. Questions?  Comments?  Stories to share? Contact me at: lymelightfight@gmail.com

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