Look at what Lyme Disease has done to me.
Lyme Disease wrecked my digestive tract, so my weight loss is the most obvious sign of the torment in my body. The top photo is 2009, the last time I was healthy. Check out my pipes. The bottom photo is 2014, 26 pounds and lots of muscle lighter.
There are other, less obvious ways Lyme Disease affects me:
- Fatigue. I can’t get out of my chair some days. Some days my body feels so heavy it’s like I have quick sand running through my veins.
- “Brain fog”. Some days I can’t think straight. (Case in point – it just took me 10 attempts to spell “straight” correctly).
If I could fix the digestion, I could live with the fatigue and brain fog. The latter two are significant, but the digestion takes the prize in causing distress.
Digestive malfunction has been my constant companion since 2009. That’s when my small intestine shut down. At one point, I literally could not eat. Could not swallow a drop of water. When I think about that, I am reminded what a miracle it is I’m still here.
I think I’m here because of my own creativity. At my darkest moment, I was lucky to force down two bottles of ensure per day for a total of 440 calories. At that rate starvation seemed likely if not inevitable.
Out of desperation, I devised a system of taking 1 sip every 5 minutes. In this way, I would take an entire hour to down a single Ensure. I would take an hour off and then do it all again. In all, I spent six hours per day taking in nutrition.
I did that for 5 months.
Over the course of those 5 months I moved from liquids to purees to solids, introducing one new food every three days, just like you do with a baby. At one point, there were only 9 foods in all of the world I could eat. And I was grateful to be eating them.
My Mayo Clinic doctor said in 20 years she’d never seen improvement like mine.
I couldn’t eat and now I can. But I am not even close to being cured. My eating is nothing like normal. Neither is my life.
One day it will be, though, and that’s why I get up each day. To keep fighting, to keep trying.
I’ll get there.