All that ended in 1990 when I was bitten by a deer tick while at my regular job. I worked for a township and ran their leaf composting operation. I worked 12 hours a day, six days a week. Suddenly I became very tired and my bones started to ache, along with having massive headaches and muscle spasms.
What could be wrong with me? First I thought it was just due to the fact that I was working long, hard hours. But I had done this for years so why now? Old age?
I went to numerous doctors and was diagnosed with all sorts of illnesses with MS among them. Finally I saw a sign for the Lyme Disease Care Center. I called them and was given a questionnaire over the phone. I had 38 out of 42 symptoms of Lyme. Finally an answer!
I was referred to a doctor and was placed on oral antibiotics for three months. During this time I had occasional bad days but most days were normal. After this course of treatment I was told I was cured. (Ha, ha.) I was in remission ... if only I knew what lay ahead.
After a two year period my Lyme returned stronger than ever. As years progressed the bad days started to outweigh the good. In 1996 I became totally disabled from chronic Lyme. I filed a Workman's Compensation suit against my employer and was fired after 17 years of employment. (I am suing them at this time.)
I filed for Social Security disability and am still waiting. I have been denied and must appear before a judge to receive it. I also just received a pension from work after waiting almost a year. Try feeling like crap and have NO MONEY coming in. I tell you it is not fun.
As of now I can't tell you when my last good day was. Some are better than others but they all basically suck. I suffer from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, Lyme arthritis in all my major joints, neuro and mental problems. (Depression, etc.)
I ended up going to rehab for a drug and alcohol problem caused by my depression and am in a 12-step program for that. I have turned into a virtual recluse because of Lyme disease. Some days it takes me over an hour to just get out of bed and get dressed. I'm sure some of you can relate.
Needless to say, my American Dream has now turned into what I am afraid is going to be the next American Nightmare ... Chronic Lyme. For those of you also suffering I shall keep you in my prayers. I have found a new faith and it is the only thing that keeps me going.
P.S. Sorry, I forgot ... and that happens all the time ... my treatments:
Orals - All of them at one time or another plus combinations.
Intramuscular Injections - Bicillian la 300,000 units daily, which was a real pain in the butt, literally.
IV - Rocephin, 12 weeks of treatment.
Due to the fact that it took over two years to be diagnosed, none of these have worked very well. I have been told to "learn to live with it" so that's what I am trying to do but it's not easy. I need to talk to fellow Lymies so please e-mail me.
Post Script: 10/4/98
Some good news finally. No, I haven't made a miraculous recovery, however, my battle with the powers that be (Social Security) are over. I have been declared totally disabled due to Lyme and am now receiving SSD for myself and children, also medicare. The decrease in stress due to having some money coming in is a great relief. I don't physically feel better but I have one less thing to worry about.
If you suffer from chronic Lyme, apply for it. It is your right. It is not easy to get and may take a while as Lyme is not yet on their list of approved illnesses, but we are getting there. Good luck to all and God bless.