Who knew one undetected, tiny tick has the power to wreak havoc on your life? Here, three courageous women share their stories about what it’s really like to live with Lyme disease.
BY JENNY LELWICA BUTTACCIO
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease, transmitted through the bite of an infected tick, is the most common vector-borne illness in the United States. Each year, there are 329,000 new cases of Lyme disease reported. For many people, obtaining a proper diagnosis and treatment plan can be a tricky endeavor; including these three women who struggled for years.
Jali Seefeldt, Appleton, Wisconsin
Over the years, I had many odd symptoms (severe insomnia, allergies, migraines, etc.), but I never put the pieces together. I saw over 30 doctors and specialists and spent an entire week at a world-renowned hospital being evaluated for neurological issues, and not one physician could find anything wrong with me. One day, I mentioned to a client of mine that my symptoms were starting to present as MS, and she encouraged me to do the western blot for Lyme disease through a company called, IGeneX. Sadly, no doctor ever diagnosed my Lyme, and I was never aware of a tick bite. It was my client who helped me get a proper diagnosis.
Since February 2013, I have tried everything I could get my hands on for Lyme disease treatment–tinctures, herbs, roots, spices, Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, homeopathy, vitamins, minerals, and more–pretty much everything that isn’t covered by insurance. It was more than a full-time job to keep track of and manage my meds, and my memory wasn’t working well at the time.
Now, I am very close to remission. I still take a handful of pills each day, but it’s nothing compared to when I was sick. I am able to work again, I am extremely active, and my Lyme disease symptoms are very minimal. My quality of life is pretty great most days. I will probably have some lingering symptoms for the rest of my life, and I’m OK with that. I just hope to maintain the health I’ve gotten back; I don’t ever want to relapse again.
Jali’s advice to other patients:
If treatment is too much, ease up and allow your body to rest. The body is capable of amazing things if you give it the right tools to heal. Also, Try to keep a positive attitude. Finally, there is an amazingly supportive Lyme community. Reach out! We all help each other so much.