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Carrie's Story

My name is Carrie and I am 25 years old. I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease two years ago and wow, has my life changed! I never saw a tick on my body, but I am an active camper and hiker so I guess the little sucker latched on during one of these expeditions.

Right after graduating college, I got a job as editorial assistant for a newspaper. I nearly lost that job because I was home sick so often. I have since changed jobs, ricocheting between full and part time because often I can't drag myself to work everyday. People have called me a hypochondriac, and I am beginning to feel like one. Doctors were no help to me. After six months of visits, I was finally diagnosed, confirming my suspicions that it was not "just stress."

The antibiotics I was given broke down my immune system, making me sicker than I was. After seeing a holistic doctor, I felt so much better. But then I began getting sick again, about six months later. My Lyme tests kept coming up negative and I felt I was going insane. One doctor put me on antibiotics anyway and, though I have only been off of them for a week, I feel so much better.

It frustates me to know that some doctors do not know enough about this disease. I know that a blood test proves nothing, but doctors do everything as they were taught, and don't listen to the patient. Right now, I feel great. But I am so afraid of another relapse. I don't want to take antibiotics again because I don't like to put foreign substances in my body, but I fear that I will have to take them long term.

I can't believe the person I have changed into. Twenty-five years old and not able to hang out with my friends late at night and do the active things I used to do to the extent that I was doing them. I believe I have permanent damage due to this disease, but I will never be sure because I can't find a doctor who can give me an explanation for anything.

Sometimes I feel like ripping my hair out and screaming in frustration, but I have a glimpse of hope this time. I can't fathom the idea of having to live the rest of my life feeling like this. But I will continue to fight. I do not want to be a slave to this disease.


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