Hi, My name is Victoria. I grew up in Washington DC, spent my summers at the beach in Virginia and backpacking through West Virginia, and spent a few summers in Martha’s Vineyard. Of course, these are some of the top places where Lyme Disease exists. I was bit by many ticks as a kid but we never really knew about Lyme disease (or its severity) so never thought much of it. I dealt with a lot of health issues growing up from daily headaches, severe allergies, eczema, and, starting in high school, major digestive issues, recurrent injuries, and chronic fatigue. Symptoms kept adding on but doctors had no answers. I KNEW something was wrong but no one believed me and I was told many times to see a therapist (which I did and she told me my symptoms were not normal and definitely had a health basis- THANK YOU!).
In February 2012 I got food poisoning and that is when it really all began. I never recovered. After the 24 hours of initial food poisoning I was still exhausted and sick. I went to my health center in college and they told me it was Mono but I still wasn’t getting better and my blood results were not confirming that diagnosis. I was convinced it was my annual sinus infection and I was put on antibiotics. I started to feel better but as soon as I stopped taking the antibiotics I felt horrible again. I was beyond exhausted, sleeping 15+ hours a day, only getting out of bed to get to class and come home. The headaches were severe, along with the muscle and joint pain and weakness. I was having numbness and tingling in my hands and feet, I couldn’t concentrate, my vision was blurry (I had to sit in the front row in my classes), and my head constantly felt like it was going to explode. In March of 2012 I flew home to see my functional medicine doctor who suspected Lyme, started me on Doxycycline, and told me to find a LLMD.
I started to feel so much better on the Doxy and in May 2012 began a heavy course of antibiotics with my LLMD. I felt better at first but then things plateaued. July 2013 I got a picc line placed and started IV antibiotics. I was on IV for 7 months when I finally stopped all antibiotics (oral and IV) and began the Cowden protocol. In January 2014 we tested for mold, heavy metals, and did genetic testing. My mold was the highest my doctor has ever seen so I have been working on treating that. I have also done heavy metal chelation and I am now starting to address the genetic mutations I have (lucky me, I have quite a few). I have also learned about the importance of detoxing and over the past 6 months have been slowly adding as many detox protocols as possible (juicing, FIR sauna, castor oil packs, dry brushing, coffee enemas, and more). I’m turning to a much more holistic approach to treatment since traditional medicine has not been able to get me into remission.The biggest thing I have learned from Lyme is that it doesn’t stand alone. I’ve found that most people who suffer form chronic Lyme are dealing with many other things on top of it like mold, heavy metals, chronic infections, genetic issues, emotional issues, chemical sensitivity, and more. It’s important to address ALL of those and the environment around you to promote healing. I think that is something many Lyme doctors are starting to figure out but most traditional doctors have not come to terms with yet. Lyme is way more complex then just the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria itself.
My story isn’t all that different form others. I suffered for years without a diagnosis, was told it was all in my head, but KNEW there was something wrong. The general medical community upsets me but I have a lot of respect for LLMD’s because they at least acknowledge there is a problem and are working their hardest to try and find an answer and help their patients. Overall my experience with Lyme has been heartbreaking, frustrating, overwhelming, mind boggling, enlightening, and eye opening. I’ve met some of the most caring people, least helpful doctors, and have done more research and gained more medical knowledge then I think my little brain knows what to do with sometimes :). But in some way, shape, or form this has all got to be worth it in the end. What I take away from this disease is going to be beyond anything I could have imagined.