Hi my name is Crystal and I am 18 years old.
4 years ago my family and I took a family road trip.
During the trip I was bit by a bug at a hotel, and shortly after the trip became severely ill. The doctor could not tell what kind of bug bite it was because it got infected.
So she gave me some medicine for a week, and eventually things seemed to be doing better.
In 7th grade I was extremely good at math, I had skipped a year of math, I was doing excellent in school, and overall I was a healthy kid.
But at the beginning of 8th grade, after this trip, I, all of sudden, started to get extremely sick.
It started off with back spasms.
It felt like someone was stabbing me with knives, and thus I started to go to doctor after doctor.
I was missing school because it even hurted if anyone accidentally bumped into me or touched me, and I couldn’t even carry my backpack.
A few weeks after the back spasms my stomach started to hurt.
I was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance after they thought my appendix was going to explode.
But they did a bunch of tests, and could not figure out what was wrong.
Within a short few weeks I had 3 ambulance rides, and stayed at hospital after hospital day after day. After going through tons of tests the doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me.
So they decided to just tell me it was all in my head, and they sent me home with anti-depressants.
But my health did not improve at all.
In fact the anti-depressants made me so sick a doctor finally took me off of them because that was not the problem.
I missed almost my whole entire 8th grade year, and had to be home tutored so I wouldn’t get held behind.
When I reached high school my health was better, but it gradually started to get bad again. I started to have memory issues in math and memory issues in general.
I went to a memory clinic and my memory in fact was affect, and my math had dropped to the 10 percentile.
I had gone from being extremely good at math, to not being able to do normal math because my brain was not letting me process the numbers.
That was one of the big signs that something was still not right.
My whole entire Junior Year of High School I had migraines almost constantly for about a year.
I had a cats scan and other tests done but they could not figure out what was wrong with my brain.
This summer my health just got severely worse fast.
I had a doctor finally tell me I had Lyme disease symptoms.
I had hives, migraines, joint pain, nausea, muscle spasms, fever, dizziness, my legs were going numb, etc.
So after 4 years (!) of being misdiagnosed I finally went to a Lyme specialist.
He told me the Lyme test the other doctors had used on me was INACCURATE.
Which is terrifying.
He also told me I would’ve died without any treatment.
Essentially Lyme disease is given through a tic, mosquito or another bug.
The disease spreads and hides in the body, attacking the heart and brain.
If the immune system is low enough it will not show up in blood work.
The disease paralysis the body then kills the person without treatment.
Me and my stuffed lyme. It is A LOT bigger than actual size, but it brought me comfort. I find it as a cute awareness thing, but it also stays with me all day. I don't see very many people anymore, so having a stuffed animal is comforting in a way. I'm not sure how to explain it.
After finding a Lyme specialist. I had more tests done and found out I have Lyme disease and 2 co-diseases as well.
My Lyme specialist is amazing, and has started me on treatment.
Because I have chronic Lyme there is currently no cure.
The treatment will help my body fight the disease so hopefully it won’t kill me.
However if Lyme is caught in the early stage it can be eradicated.
Lyme disease reproduces in the body every few weeks, which is why it keeps coming back.
I am hoping and praying that the Doctors and Researchers will find a cure. Lyme disease is terrible, and it can be prevented.
There is a misunderstanding that if a person doesn’t have a bulls eye rash or certain symptoms they don’t have it.
That’s not true.
Every person reacts differently, and the Lyme tests are not even that accurate.
ILADS is a great organization to contact to find a Lyme specialist.
They also have LYMEPOWEROFUSCAMPAIGN to help raise Lyme awareness.
I am lucky that I had a doctor who finally figured out what was wrong with me.
Doctor after doctor kept telling me it was in my head.
It’s a very real disease, and it’s a pandemic.
So many people have it and don’t even realize it.
Even though I am physically not well, I still find things that make me happy.
This disease has greatly impacted my life.
I am supposed to be in college, but I am still not well enough to even leave my house.
I have become sensitive to light and being in the sun, or even a lamp makes me sick.
I have to wear sunglasses when I go out, and cover up my skin so I don’t get burnt.
I have to take tons of pills, medicine, every single day and they taste nasty.
At night I can’t sleep because of the disease, and my skin breaks out in hives so often I take Benadryl on a daily basis.
I have lost several friends over the years because of my health.
So being sick you truly do learn who your real friends are.
Sometimes it’s really hard to stay together, because the people you trust won’t even stay around.
Occasionally I do have to use a wheel chair because I an unable to walk.
Those are just a few examples on how this impacted my life.
If people find out early they have the disease it can be stopped.
It is so important people are aware about this disease because it could save someone’s life.
Although I am unable to go out often, I have found confidence to share my story with others even if it’s only online.
I still love to do normal things like watch movies, spend time with friends, do art, write, sing, etc.
Sometimes finding confidence, happiness in the smallest things makes such a big difference.
The few friends who have stayed, my family, my followers on Instagram, my doctors, hope they will find a cure, and knowing so many people are praying for me, gives me hope.
I don't know where my life is going. But I'm trying to trust God.
It would be a lie to say I don't get discouraged, sad, depressed because of the disease and all the different things that have happened.
But finding happiness even in the smallest things can make such a big difference.
My hope is that they will find a cure.
But until then I hope people get more aware cause that could save someone's life.
Thank you for the opportunity to write a story for your blog. That's my story.