Thursday, August 26, 2021

Throwback Thursday: 13 Years Ago - Lyme Disease, Doctors & Crashes

I thought I'd start a new feature, Throwback Thursday, to take a look back at what I was writing about here on the blog in the past. I've written the blog for more than 14 years now, so that's a LOT of old blog posts that rarely get seen anymore! Looking for an older post today, I also realized that many of the same issues from way back then are still very relevant today and that maybe we can all learn something from occasionally looking back!

So, for today, I chose two posts from this week in August 2008, 13 years ago. These two posts are on the same topic, two parts of the same story, about when I first got Lyme disease.

The first post, from August 13, 2008, is A House of Cards. I use a house of cards analogy to describe how I felt like my life had suddenly crumpled and left me exhausted and in a panic. In this post, I mention how bad I'd been feeling lately, my sudden-onset of knee pain, and a very difficult and painful fight I had with my doctor, about whether or not I now had Lyme disease. I still vividly remember that day because it was so upsetting to me. You can read all about it in that post.

One week later, on August 21, 2008, I wrote Lyme Disease and Allergies, which describes how treating Lyme (which my doctor finally agreed to after that awful fight) finally relieved my symptoms, giving me a miraculous recovery just in time for a camping vacation with my extended family (i.e. lots of energy required!).

August 2008: I was able to enjoy vacation with my family!

Wow, reliving that period 13 years later was interesting and enlightening! And there were some very important lessons in that one-week period so long ago:

Believe in Yourself & Advocate for Yourself - That fight with my doctor when my Lyme tests came back negative but I was certain I had it was a rough one; I was in tears and it still upsets me all these years later. But standing up for myself was the right thing to do. It turned out that I was right, that I did have Lyme disease (and, in fact, am still fighting it 13 years later), and if it had gone untreated for longer, I could have suffered from permanent neurological damage. It can be really hard to advocate for yourself when you have no energy and cognitive function is impaired, so you might need a friend or family member to help you with research and talking to your doctor(s) to represent your rights, needs, and interests. For background as to how I knew I had Lyme and why the lab tests were wrong, check out another post, Why Everyone with ME/CFS or Fibro Should Be Evaluated for Tick Infections. If I hadn't known all this and advocated for myself back then, I would be in much worse shape today, perhaps even bedridden. So, listen to your body, believe in yourself and what you are feeling, and speak up to ask for what you need (and enlist help when needed).

Listen To Your Body! Ah, yes, this is a lesson I keep having to re-learn, even 13 years later! I mention it in both of these older posts, and I just this week recorded a new video about this, You're Right Where You Need To Be. Paying attention to how we feel and resting before we crash is probably #1 in importance when it comes to managing these chronic illnesses, but it is easy to forget in the heat of the moment, when you think you must get something done or don't want to miss out on something. So, a reminder--even from 13 years ago!--is good now and then.

My Lyme Journey It's very interesting to look back at how it all started, when I first added Lyme disease to my diagnoses in 2008, because it's been a long journey with lots of ups and downs. Several times over the next 12 years, I thought I'd finally gotten the Lyme under control and fully treated (spoiler: I was wrong!). Finally, in January this year, I began seeing my son's Lyme specialist and started on some new treatments that have been very effective. I describe all that in my recent post News from Our House: Treatment Progress and More.

Where were YOU 13 years ago?

What lessons have you learned in the past that you seem to have to keep re-learning?

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