In the summer of 2000, I was 10 years old on a playground with a friend of mine that had fresh new mulch. What I know now that I didn’t know then is fresh mulch is ticks favorite place to hang out. A few days later, my foot became red and itchy. We went to the doctor where my physician told me it was a spider bite. After a month, I learned this was not the case. I had to be sent home from sleep away camp because I was having trouble walking. My brain was having a hard time telling my legs to go to sleep and wake up. I couldn’t move my legs properly until early afternoon, throughout the day I would be tripping or feeling pins and needles in my legs and at night couldn’t fall asleep because my legs kept twitching. I was afraid to say anything to my counselors because I didn’t think anyone would believe me. Then I finally called my parents while they were away on vacation and begged them to come home and get me because something wasn’t right.
When I got home I had blood work done which showed I had Chronic Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis, which if you didn’t know Ehrlichiosis is a disease carried by ticks but is not Lyme Disease. You would think after proper medication this would all be over, however unfortunately this was just the start of my 8 year battle. From ages 10 to 18 I suffered with stomach issues, failure of organs, menstrual problems, brittle bones, sore muscles, insomnia, inflammation, head issues etc. We couldn’t find out why this has been going on for so long with no recovery and my poor mother was driving herself crazy trying to figure this out; it seemed to just get worse than better.
In 2002, we found a Lyme specialist of the name, Dr. Bernard Raxlen in Greenwich Connecticut, who tested my blood for all different diseases to find out that for 2 years I had Babesiosis, another disease carried by ticks – a lot like Malaria. So after pumping my body full of medication again I was Babesiosis free. This then started my recovery, so I thought…again. It took about 3 surgeries, 2 permanent IV’s, multiple trips to the emergency room, 2 specifically for anaphylactic reactions and 12 different doctors to bring us to my favorite person on this planet, Ms. Andrea Candee, a herbalist in Westchester, NY. When I met Andrea I was a mess! I was in high school at this point but I felt like I was trapped in an 80 year olds body. Everything hurt from my head to my toes, I had 0 energy, my stomach couldn’t handle anything and my immune system was so shot that I was always getting sick. I was home schooled for some time until we could get my health back on track and Andrea helped with that.
Andrea helped rid my body of the bad bacteria, the disease that was left in my body. I had to be patient too because your body doesn’t heal overnight. By the time I graduated high school I was back on track to as normal as it was going to get. I missed so much schooling that I had to go to community college. I was feeling healthy and happy, still had digestion issues but lost 60 pounds and felt like my life was back on track. When I was 20 years old I had to go to the emergency room, to find out I had a blockage in my intestines. I spent 2 days in the hospital with a NG tube in my nose waiting to see if we would have to do surgery or if the blockage would reverse itself. Luckily it did, and I was sent home that night. To this day, we do not know what caused this scare but were happy no surgery was needed.
That year I was accepted to SUNY Buffalo and was transferring for the Spring 2011 semester. I was feeling healthy and well, but once I left my family I suffered from high anxiety. After the incident that caused me to rush into the emergency room I had this fear that something was going to go wrong and I was 5 hours from my family. I didn’t want this to affect college for me though, this was the first time I wasn’t going to be looked at as the “sick girl”. I didn’t want anyone knowing my story or knowing what I have been through, I wanted this to be in the past.
I had 4 wonderful girlfriends in college who helped me through that time. They knew my story but they didn’t know me as that person they knew me as the happy fun outgoing Mallory that I felt like. It was the best 3 years of my life. After graduation I started working my first big girl job in December of 2013 – I had moved out of my parents place and was just trying to live the proper life of a 24 year old.
Unfortunately, I started feeling really weak, exhausted and having terrible back pain in the summer of 2014. After getting blood taken, I was diagnosed with Ehrlichiosis again. I was given the proper medication and just hoped for the best. This was the beginning of a very difficult year for me. I didn’t know how to tell my mother how awful I was feeling or anyone because I just kept telling myself this might just be what I am left with. It continued for so long though that I feared that there was more than just the Lyme and something was seriously wrong with me. I was tired all the time, suffered from migraines 7 days a week, had trouble thinking, speaking and concentrating on anything. Finally I broke down and called my mother and explained to her what was happening.
During this time I was speaking to a friend of mine telling her about the terrible migraines I was having, she advised me of her Chiropractor in town who she thought I should go to, how amazing he is and that she swears by chiropractic care. She was unaware of my other symptoms but being that she is in sales let’s just say I was sold. Shortly after, I went and met Dr. Jon Mastrobattista in Bernvardsville, New Jersey. After one long appointment of me going through my health history he really made me feel like he could help me. After getting my x-rays back of my body, we discovered that my scull was not properly aligned to my neck, my neck was curved in the wrong direction, my spine looked like an S and my pelvis was sideways. I learned that Lyme disease attacks your nervous system and my body was so sick for so long that it was having trouble holding me up. After three month with this man, I can think better, my daily migraines are gone, I have been losing weight, sleeping better and my energy level is where it should be. I have not felt this good in a very long time and I hope it just keeps going.
Can you imagine that this is the short version of my story? What so terrible about these diseases is from the outside, you look like the average person. Maybe some dark circles under your eyes, thinning hair, but nothing showing how you feel on the inside. Your body is in constant fight or flight mode not knowing how to take care of itself because this disease takes over every aspect of your body. What gets me though is that it never affected my positivity, even though I suffered for so many years and every day is a constant battle, I am still lucky. People have it a lot worse and with the love of my friends and family I was able to get through all of this. Every day is a journey and I hope it just keeps getting better and better.