I’ve been struggling to write about my experience with Lyme disease. I’ve started a few different variations and none of them seem to fully encompass the pain (physically and emotionally), the wide-scale symptoms, and struggle that had taken over my life. There have been so many breakthroughs in the past few years that have shed light on how vastly Lyme can affect you, and how common it is. My battle with Lyme disease started back when doctors thought antibiotics would eradicate the bacteria, the bacteria was only found in ticks in the Connecticut area, and the disease started with the bulls-eye rash and flu-like symptoms. Keeping that in mind, you can see how frustrating it was to see a doctor in Arkansas and be taken seriously. For several months, no one could tell me what was wrong.
It had started with two tick bites when I was twelve years old. I never had the bulls-eye rash, and can’t recall ever feeling ill from it. I had scars where the bites were but never thought anything of it. Fast forward a few years and I started having increased joint and muscle pain. I was also very, very tired. After seeing different doctors for months, my muscle weakness had grown exponentially and I was wheelchair bound for several months. A doctor spotted my tick bite scars and took a chance on testing me. He didn’t put the results in my medical record due to the possibility of him losing his medical license, but he did prescribe me antibiotics.
The Lyme disease went into remission and I gained my strength back fairly quickly, and I was so glad to get out of the wheelchair that the small joint pain in my knees was ignored. My doctor told me I’d be fine, after all. Any joint paint I had were only residual issues that could get better…but may last my whole life.
The joint pain and muscle pain became worse and the fatigue came back. A host of other symptoms came up but they weren’t easily explained, and medications weren’t doing anything to help. There was so much confusion as to why I felt the way I did, and I thought it couldn’t possibly be Lyme disease. I was cured from it, remember?
When I was 18 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I had all the classic symptoms, including fatigue and horrible pain. When anyone grazed my skin, or even did something as simply as putting a hand on my shoulder, immense pain would be felt and I would scream internally, trying not to shrug away.
With this diagnosis, a few different pain management pills were tried out. Some natural approaches were also tried. I was willing to do anything for some relief. Have you ever been to the doctor and they ask you how your pain is on a scale of one to ten? They may show you a chart where number one is a happy, smiling face. Ten is a face that is crying, grimacing, obviously in horrible pain. I lived my life at an average of number seven.
Medications worked for maybe a week or two. Natural approaches would send my symptoms away for a couple months. I began to resign myself to this life. I could only manage part time work, and I had to be careful about how many activities I did during the week, because my body would crash if I did too much.
When I was 22 I got married, and we moved into a small apartment in Fayetteville. By this time, research had been done and more truths about Lyme had come out. I was constantly searching for more as I learned that Lyme disease was barely affected by antibiotics if not taken within days of becoming infected. I learned that the disease could mimic several other diseases, Fibromyalgia included. After everything I read, I knew I still had Lyme disease. Even with all the research, there was still a lack of treatment. Once I got my hopes up about a clinic that treated Lyme that was across the country. We were willing to move, and trying to figure out how to afford it. When something didn’t feel right, I did more research and found out it was a scam. My heart was broken, thinking it was my last hope.
I was resigned to a life of pain, of being limited in what I could accomplish physically. The summer after we got married my symptoms became much worse. My husband happened to run in to doctor Quinn, and they started talking. My husband told him about my struggle with Lyme disease and doctor Quinn said, “I think I could help.” He didn’t promise a cure or magic pill. He offered a possible treatment that could help me manage my symptoms. I honestly didn’t want to try it, considering all the other treatments I had done. I wasn’t ready for my hopes to be high and only dashed.
My husband was hopeful, though. So I went for a consult to hear what Dr. Quinn had to say. I was blown away in our first appointment. This guy knew so much about Lyme disease, he knew just how nasty, detrimental, and relentless this bacteria could be. He was the first doctor that I have ever seen who actually knew what he was talking about when it came to Lyme disease. I’m not saying he’s the only one in existence, but he was the first one I had met who understood it. I knew after that consult that I would give this treatment my all. It was a treatment of two months, with no promises. I was told it would get a lot worse before it got better. I was on a strict diet, supplements, and potent herbs.
It definitely got worse. My body grew so weak and my body felt so terrible that we had to move in with my in-laws. Most days it was all I could do to make it from the bedroom to the living room couch. My husband would sometimes have to feed me, because I had no energy to lift a fork to my mouth. I only share that so you know that the treatment wasn’t easy, but proved to be worth it. I was diligent in taking the herbs and supplements and I followed the diet as best as I could. It was challenging, but I held onto a hope that things would get better. That it could actually help.
Almost two months after I started treatment, I woke up with a buzz of energy when my husband’s alarm clock went off. I got out of bed with him and for the rest of the day I had this weird energy that I couldn’t explain. I felt that energy for a while because my body had been using so much energy to fight the Lyme disease bacteria that once it was finally eradicated, it kept producing that same amount of energy until it realized it no longer needed it. When I tested negatively for Lyme, I could hardly believe it. I was afraid for a while that it was only in remission and would come back in a few months.
Since that time, almost three years later, I haven’t had any Lyme disease symptoms. I can’t put into words how thrilled I am to write that. I continued to see Dr. Quinn regularly for about a year because my body was lacking in certain vitamins and nutrients that it needed, but after everything was leveled out I finally felt like a normal person. I was in awe at what a “healthy” individual felt like. It had been so long that I couldn’t remember what it was like to not be in pain. I was and still am impressed with Dr. Quinn and the amount of time he puts into each individual person. I have referred several people to him because no matter how bizarre or out-of-the-box symptoms someone may have, he is able to figure it out and help them. I also refer my friends to him because I know he genuinely cares about his patients. I’m so grateful for Dr. Quinn at Ozark Holistic Center and that I have the rest of my Lyme-free life to look forward to.
Thank you Delaynie for your strength, willingness, and desire to share your story and experiences. They will be a strength to others.