I have always enjoyed the beauty of the outdoors. I also have always been a very social person and active in bicycling and hiking. I have worked mostly jobs where there’s has been a lot of manual labor, creativeness, brainstorming, multi tasking, driving, and long hours. My last job was at a local television station as a Photojournalist/Videographer. I was the person going out with the reporters to gather the news stories of the day.
In the spring and summer of 2008, Wisconsin had lots of major flooding. Some towns were closed down completely because of it. I was out everyday covering the effects of the flood waters. I was contently in the elements. I ran on adrenalin because I wasn’t getting much sleep since I was working extended and double shifts.
I started getting sick in June. I thought it was exhaustion from the constant work. I had bruises all over my body and didn’t know what had caused them. A couple of them looked really odd. They were discolored in the middle, lighter than on the outside. I didn’t know it at the time but they were target rashes. I was working in places that were/are infested with ticks.
I was having night sweats, fatigue, dizziness, achiness, and headaches. The doctors found that I was anemic so they gave me iron pills. But I continued to feel sick and was getting SO frustrated. I let my doctor know about my exposure to highly populated tick areas and that I even found a tick in my bed. I pleaded with them to test me for Lyme disease. I gave a lot of blood and thought for sure they’d figure something out. Everything came back negative including the ELSIE Lyme test.
At the end of October I’m STILL sick and missing tons of work. I begged my Primary doc to treat me for Lyme despite the test results. She said she would treat me with an antibiotic for two weeks. I started getting better, so I called and begged for another two weeks. She said she would but made sure I knew she wasn’t diagnosing me with Lyme. I took what I could get and I got a lot better, but it didn’t last.
By March of 2009, I took a voluntary layoff form my job. I just couldn’t do my job anymore and they needed to lay someone off anyway.
I went back to the clinic and was referred to the Infectious disease clinic. But they wouldn’t see me since my Lyme test came back negative. I had to wait to get in to the rheumatoid clinic. It’s now August of 2009. That was the WORST doctor appointment ever! It’s all in your head. There’s no way you have Lyme disease. I walked out of his office balling my eyes out.
That was the day I decided to get on the web and reach out to online Lyme support groups. I got several recommendations for the same Lyme doctor. Only 2.5 hours away, but still, I was going in the right direction. I made my appointment that day. I had to swallow my pride and get a cane. Most days I couldn’t get out of bed. I was so depressed.
Sept. 8th 2009, a friend drives me to see my Lyme Doctor. I was clinically diagnosed that day. I started treatment and almost right away some of the most resent symptoms started falling off. The Lyme bacteria moves around in your body so some symptoms will get better and then others will appear. It can also hide in places antibiotics can’t get to.
It’s been a long road already, but it will be longer. Because I wasn’t treated right away I now have Chronic Lyme Disease. I have depleted all my savings because of the treatment and not being able to work.
Staying positive is hard, my life has completely changed. Each day is a struggle. I’m thankful that I can get out of bed and can shower, eat and take all my meds, but I’m extremely limited to what I can do.
I’m thankful for the friends I have met around the country through my computer that also have Lyme disease. I wish/pray that no one has to go through the nightmare of Lyme. I have so much anger because I suffer each and every day with a disease that could have been avoided if I would have been treated right away.
Della Haugen – Madison Wisconsin