Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What Is Chronic Lyme Disease?

What is chronic Lyme disease?
Chronic Lyme disease is widely unrecognized and unknown in today's popular contemporary medical field - in fact it creates defensiveness and denial when mentioned in many circles.
Chronic illness in and of itself has long existed and acknowledged throughout the world. On Ask.com, the following answer appeared after asking what is chronic illness:
A chronic disease is a disease that will last for a long time or will come and go, but always be a part of your life. Some chronic diseases include Fibromyalgia, COPD, diabetes, cancers and the different types of arthritis.
When I look up chronic on dictionary.com, I get words like "constant, habitual, continuing for a long time or recurring frequently, having a long duration." The Word English Dictionary adds "developing slowly, very bad and very serious" to the list.
The idea that today's Lyme disease is a singular culprit exists in traditional circles, but not in actual Lymies. We know that Lyme disease always travels and infects in multiples. Can you imagine if the mainstream media and medicine had to suddenly accept that most diabetes patients also simultaneously had stomach cancer or MS? Or that kids who got mono also had Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the same time? The system would real from the ripples of confusion and fear this would create.
Chronic Lyme is rooted in the multiplicity of co-infections and the medical establishment's lack of treatment varieties. Their failure lies in low expertise with handling the widespread damage these various co-infections cause in the body and mind.
Most contemporary material on the internet and mainstream media will define Chronic Lyme as Lyme disease that is not "gone" or "cured" after 3-4 weeks of antibiotic treatment.
I would argue that there are tiers of Lyme, instead of the black and white version of only two kinds of Lyme disease in existence - Lyme and chronic Lyme.
Maybe the chart would look more like an Alzheimer's guide with early, middle and late stage Lyme described by symptoms. Add to that the lists of co-infections and trouble they cause and you understand why it confuses everyone.
Three to four weeks of antibiotics, if taken right after an initial tick bite might actually do some good and keep that person from being sick, but it might also just cause the spirochete to go dormant, only to rear its ugly head again down the road.
Chronic Lyme disease means that you don't have a typical case. It most likely means that you have seen multiple doctors before finding out you even had Lyme. It designates that you have various co-infections of other tick borne illnesses that are taking turns causing trouble and destroying your body. Chronic Lyme entitles you to be widely misunderstood by doctors, friends and family who will sometimes think you are faking it. Chronic Lyme attacks not just the physical, but the mental and emotional. It means that your treatment road will be long and hard and painful - and did I mention hard, and long? Oh, and it will be expensive.
Chronic Lyme, however, is not a death sentence. It is not a cause to weep or get discouraged. There are many (not a ton) qualified knowledgeable doctors who have learned how to fight this illness and win.
Think of it more like a car accident that damages your knee right before your professional basketball career is just taking off. Maybe you'll never play basketball again, or if you do it will be with a brace. Possibly, your knee will ache when it's going to rain. Maybe by the time you are older, a house without stairs helps your knee not hurt. The car wreck altered the course of your life and changed your plans, but you are still functional and able to live. It is forever with you, but you are still living.
Chronic Lyme will not be the end of you or your life - it feels like it and if not properly treated, it can be. It is brutal and difficult and has taken the lives of many who fought the good fight, but more because the lack of doctors, treatment and financial availability.
Would I have gotten so sick if someone would have found the Lyme years ago before all the slow damage? Could I have been spared the 2 years of the Lyme pit if it were more widely understood and well known? If we had an early detection system would there be such widespread Chronic Lyme at all?
We are the cusp of a Lyme revolution. Keep talking about it, keep researching, keep seeking truth in this Lyme battle. Be a Lyme evangelist with me.
I am a recovering Lymie myself and the mother of two recovering Lymies. I am compelled this side of the healing process to reach out and help others with encouragement and information that leads to success. You are not alone in this chronic Lyme disease battle and you can conquer it and win your life back.
Janice Fairbairn
Just Living Like This with Lyme
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