My name is Robyn. I live in Northern New Jersey and I am 29 years old.
I contracted Lyme disease once in 1990; that was the first time I was diagnosed. Back in 1990, all I had was a sore elbow and an upset stomach. But looking back now, I'm glad I had a doctor then who knew what to look for, and he tested me right away. He gave me the prescribed 3 weeks of Amoxicillian and I was fine; or so I thought.
Then in December of 1992, (it was the afternoon of my nephew's grammar school Christmas play)and I couldn't wait to get there. That day while driving down highway 46 for my job, I began to experience what I now know was an anxiety attack. But at the time I wasn't sure what I was having. I raced home from work exhausted and sick, and beeped my fiance who happened to be an EMT. He told me what it was that I was having and to relax as he'd be home soon as he could.
A few more months passed and during these months I was getting increasingly sicker; always tired, so tired all the time. My stomach was always upset, I was dizzy and just totally drained. I had been going to a doctor who swore up and down that it wasn't Lyme disease, yet he didn't know what it was.
During the course of 1992 through 1994 I made the rounds to all kinds of doctors; all kinds of tests; only to be told it was all in my head and I was just a nervous bride who had had some unresolved issues from my father's death from when I was a child, and I should seek a psychiatrist.
At this point I thought maybe they were right; maybe it was possible I had something wrong with me mentally, so I agreed to go.
Well, the whole psychiatrist thing turned out to be all for naught, because he informed me that if all his patients were as sane as I, he would have no practice.
Sept. 11th, 1993. The day of my wedding; the day I dreamed about for years and worked so hard at for 2 years to be sure everything was perfect; and it was, except the bride... I was sick. The day went off without a hitch but for me it was a total disaster. I had never been so sick in all my life. I didn't have a stitch of food because I was too ill and never got to even taste my wedding cake.
By Oct. 1993 I was spending weekends on the couch in exhaustion and feeling like I had the flu, as well as making excuses at work why I couldn't come in or why I had to leave early. That went OK until Feb. of 1994, when I finally had to leave my job because I was just too exhausted and sick all the time to continue. I made one last call to find a doctor as I sat on my couch in tears and disappointment, and said to myself "this is it, if this doctor doesn't help me I will just sit here and wait to die -- there's nothing I can do that I haven't already done"
I went to see this new doctor and by the grace of GOD he said "Yes Robyn you have Lyme Disease and a severe case of it." I immediately cried in relief, because a doctor had finally confirmed what I knew all along, but couldn't get the medical profession to understand.
I went through all sorts of antibiotics and tranquilizers and IV therapies, including drug withdrawal from the tranquilizers. And although it's almost 7 years later and I am still disabled and unable to have any other type of treatment, I will always thank GOD for my doctor.
Lyme Disease finally stripped me financially as I had to declare bankruptcy and have people buy me food and pay for my shelter. It had also helped to ruin my chances of having children, as I was 5 weeks pregnant once and had a miscarriage, and was told if I do get pregnant there is a 50/50 chance I will become severely ill again (as well as my child being born with Lyme disease).
Knowing those facts I could not forgive myself if I had a child who was born with Lyme disease. I could not commit him or her to a lifetime of this illness, or the pain it brings with it.
The last thing it stripped from me was my marriage. It just got so bad that we could no longer hold onto eachother. I don't blame either one of us; all I do say is that we were victims of circumstance.
Currently, I did finally remarry to a wonderful man whom I took to my doctor. He explained the world of Lyme to him so he knew what and what not to expect, and he married me anyway. I haven't worked in 5 years and am receiving disability. I have tried to work in the past but my body just will not allow it. I do still have many many symptoms as well as new ones, and damages caused to my system due to the illness and treatment. Most days are a fight to get through.
I have been told that I have Chronic Lyme disease or Post Lyme disease, although blood tests are negative. So at this point all I can do is hold out hope for the future, that one day some doctor from somewhere will say that he's found a cure for myself and people like me.
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