In 1977 my plight with Lyme disease began with an optic neuritis in which
I lost all vision in my right eye. That was treated by a neurologist with
heavy doses of prednisone. Yucky stuff. My vision returned in about six
weeks. The eye movement was slow for about one year, and I had no further
symptoms for two years until I was diagnosed with a spot in my right lung,
and was told it was histoplasmosis, after lung surgery. Ouch.
From then on I slowly deteriorated. My legs were getting numb and my arms
and hands were beginning to become numb. I went to a neurologist who
diagnosed me with MS. I asked about a test for Lyme and she said it wasn't
necessary because I had a positive MRI, and I found out ten years later
that the MRI for MS and Lyme Disease is identical.
I had been a court reporter for 28 years, and I felt I could no
longer competently perform my job and was forced to retire in 1989 at age
My top speed for shorthand was 260 words per minute, and my speed on
the typewriter was 120 words per minute. I can no longer write shorthand,
and my typing speed is down to probably 15 words per minute, at best, with
the hunt and pick method. It is difficult to sit and tap my fingers on a
table. My whole thought process was being affected and my short term
memory was getting very poor. I would walk into another room and forget
why I went there. I had night sweats and sleep was interrupted. I like to
paint and could no longer hold a small, light brush and could barely sign
my name, so my spare time was affected also.
My two sons thought I had
been drinking because my speech was slurred all of the time and I don't
drink at all, and my face was getting progressively worse and numb. I had
a Bell's palsy. I could no longer pucker enough to whistle. I could
only climb steps one step at a time using my left leg first and pulling the
right leg along, and of course, I could not run at all. Finally, I went to one cane and then two canes
and then a walker. Currently, I am back to one or two canes. I had dizziness,
vertigo, poor balance, and I was a general mess.
My emotions are affected
and I will cry very easily and I never had that problem before. I asked at
least six different doctors about a Lyme test and received the same reply,
that it wasn't necessary because my MRI indicates MS.The reason why they
call them practicing physicians is because they're still practicing, but
not too well. This is only a partial list of my symptoms.
My whole body was becoming affected, and I did not know why. There has
never been any MS in my family. Why me? In 1998 I found a Minnesota
Statute on the Internet which requires an adopting agency to search for the
adoptee, and I had a daughter out of wedlock in 1959 and I did not know how
to find her before that.
I instituted a search. The agency found her and
we met. She is a gorgeous lady and has been an absolute Godsend to me.
She has a ten-year old daughter with Lyme Disease, my grand daughter. My
lovely daughter, after a couple months, asked me a lot of questions about
my MS symptoms and finally thought I had Lyme disease. At last somebody
agreed with me. My daughter had to take her ten-year old all the way to
Dallas, Texas, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to receive appropriate
treatment, and my grand daughter is doing fairly well now.
This improper diagnosis has cost me my job, my career, my life style, my
marriage, and most of my income. Thank goodness I still have my life and
hopefully the ability to help other people in the same condition. After
meeting my daughter, I have been on antibiotics and have received some
relief and improvement, but it has been a long and difficult road and I
have a long journey ahead of me, and I know I am not alone any longer and
feel I can beat this insidious disease.
L. David Olson
The Lyme Disease Quilt Page
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