Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Deborah E's Story

Deborah Elliott

It was Jan. 1986, and I was working at Martin Marietta Michoud in New Orleans. It is NASA's facility where they make the external tank for the space shuttle. I was laid off with about 2000 others because that was the year the shuttle exploded with the teacher on it. I had worked there about 3 years. I was a blue collar worker, never afraid of hard work. I worked out at the gym and played competition softball.

I was 30 years old at the time but looked 25. I needed to find another job and none was available at the time in New Orleans. So, I heard Boeing Aircraft Company was starting up business in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I had been an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force, so I figured I could get a job there, which I did.

I worked there for about eight months before going back to New Orleans. During the time I was there, I lived in a small brick home that sat in the backyard of my supervisor and his wife's house. They had a large dog and the yard was all dirt. One morning when I woke up I noticed a rash on my right thigh. It was a funny looking rash. One I had never seen before. It was like a bull's eye target. I thought it was just some kind of fungus rash or something, not knowing anything about Lyme Disease at the time.

So, I went to the drugstore and bought some cream for rashes. The rash then went away in a couple of weeks and I never gave it any thought after that. Then I moved into these old Air Force barracks near where I was working. I was playing softball and being very active. Then about the 3rd or 4th week after the bite, I started getting bruises all over my body and I would have to lay on a bed of ice to ease the pain, because my entire body would hurt so badly, I would lay on the ice and cry myself to sleep.

I remember going into the hospital there but I don't remember the treatment. I felt better and moved back to New Orleans; that was in 1987. I went back to work as a blue collar worker (sheet metal shop). I must have worked about 6 months when my body started hurting again. So, I quit that kind of work and went back to school to learn drafting.

I figured I better go learn a trade I can sit down and do. Well, from 1988 till 1995 I developed different symptoms (dizziness, legs aching, mentrual problems), but I was still very active. I took 2 years of karate. I had EMG's, blood tests(not for Lyme). I was tested for MD, but everything was normal. So, I was told I had Fibromyalgia. Then in 1995 I had a hysterectomy, because of too much pain down there and bleeding every 2 weeks.

Then I got Hepatitis A (1995). After I got over that the symptoms of so called FMS got worse. Since then I have been going down hill. I have had EMG's (more), EKG's, EEG's, MRI's (neck & brain), blood tests for everything from Lupus to Cancer. I have seen all kinds of doctors from Internal Med., Rheum., Neuro., Blood Disorder doc & Infect. Disease.

I have been to pain clinics and ER's several times. I have had doctors that care and others that tell me I just need to exercise and see a psychiatrist. I have even had a doctor send me to an Infect. Disease doctor around 1992 and the Infect. Disease doctor said she would not even test me for Lyme because there is no Lyme down here in the south. These doctors down here in the south (Louisiana) don't realize just how much Lyme we have here, but now in 2000 they are starting to see more and more cases.

Five months ago I was so sick I got laid off from my job for missing too much work. I told my Rheum. doctor (I wasn't seeing an Infec. doctor yet) to "test me for anything and everything, as something is wrong with me." I became a Christian in 1995 and I prayed a lot to God to help me get a doctor to help find out what was wrong with me. Then my Rheum. doctor sent me to the Infect. disease doctor and I told him my story and he right away said, "You have Chronic Lyme Disease."

Now, I have told many doctors my story but this doctor was the only one listening. The Infect. Disease doctor put me on oral amoxicillon 500mg, three times a day. After the first month of taking them I felt good enough to go back to work. Now 3 months have passed and I am feeling bad again. The Antibiotic is hardly working anymore.

The Infect. doctor said he wants to try I.V. antibiotics, but wants to wait a little longer for me to get my heart checked out, because of heart palps and some pain in that area, along with a shortness of breath. My symptoms: pain everywhere, pain in joints, light headed, twitching, night sweats, chest pain, numbness and tingling, numbness in face at times, cognitive problems, fatique, jitters (feels like nerves are spasming), muscle spasms, etc.

This evening, 5-26-00, I am going to take a stress test for the not so old ticker. Well, we'll see from here what comes next. I can't stand the thought that I have to live with this the rest of my life, but with Jesus I know I can. It gets extremely tough because I also have to take care of my handicapped mother. My sister used to help me with my mom but she died of liver cancer in 1996.

Sometimes I feel like an extreme warrior fighting a battle with courage and then other times I feel like crawling inside a cave and having everybody leave me alone. We who do have Lyme Disease need to stand together in our battle. I would love to hear from others with this illness.

It makes it even harder when there are not too many people who give you any empathy or compassion as to what you are going through. God bless everyone and I am here to listen to anyone who needs a friend who understands, because I know, I do.

Debbie Elliot

The Lyme Disease Quilt Page

Please click on the mailbox to send me your comments

Lyme Quilt main page

Lyme Disease related links

Copyright ©1998-2001 The Lyme Disease Quilt Page