Time to Pass the Baton. Again.

My tangle with chronic lyme disease is neither a marathon nor a sprint. Rather, it’s a relay race. I have been at this for eight years. For many of those years I hoped beyond hope that I could find the ONE person who could solve all my problems and lead me out of the wilderness. 

But that never happened. Somehow, some way, I am closer to the edge of the forrest than the middle, but I was guided there not by one person, but by a succession of them.

Battling chronic lyme disease is like peeling an onion. It’s a layered affair, and sometimes you cry. And let me tell you, my case has been one large onion. Every time I thought I had finally gotten down to the last layer, yet another one would appear. It’s been a very long process of peeling and dealing. And crying sometimes.

Along the way, different medical professionals have helped me with the various layers. And this is where the relay concept comes in. Long ago I gave up on the idea of one person peeling my whole onion. Instead, I would work with somebody until they gave me everything they had to give. Then I would regroup, find another person, and work with them until we went as far as we could.

That might sound like a simple process, however, it was anything but. I usually stayed with somebody longer than I should have because staying with that person was easier than figuring out Plan B. It’s very scary when you come to the realization your doctor is out of ideas and you still aren’t better. It’s doubly scary when your doctor is giving you the same treatments that have been successful for other people, but they aren’t working for you. 

This reality became less scary when I started thinking about the relay process. Each time I reached the end with a care giver, I was better than when I started with them. Said another way, with rare exception, every person that has worked on my case has helped me in some way. Sometimes a lot. Sometimes a little.  I am still not cured, but each time I passed through the hands of one caregiver to another, I got a little closer.

Which brings us to the present.  I feel the best I have in quite some time, but I know I could feel much better. Still more onion layers to peel. And I believe my current doctor has done all he can for me. In fact, I probably should have left him a few years ago, but fear held me back. He’s brilliant, a leading lyme expert, and he knows my case inside and out. His combination of smarts and familiarity have made it very difficult for me to move on, even though I think he has done all he can for me. In fact, he said I’m one of the most difficult cases he’s ever had, and he’s been treating Lyme disease since 1981. He said I’m one of a handful of his patients that just aren’t responding to treatment in the way his experience says I should.

And with that, I am passing the baton to a new clinic. This one is called Holtorf Medical Group, and it’s in LA. Dr. Holtorf, the medical director, has Lyme Disease. Bad for him, good for the patients. Also, Holtorf Medical specializes in thyroid issues, which I have. They take a comprehensive approach to healing patients, and address the root causes of illness vs. just treating the symptoms. All that is right up my alley.

I have no idea how I will feel about the clinic, or if I will seek treatment there beyond my initial consult. It all depends on the feeling I get at my first visit later this week.

I will close by saying I’ve gotten to be an old pro at starting with new doctors. For the first few years, my husband and I would hold our breaths in the hopes the new person would be THE ONE. We were so afraid of what we would do if that didn’t turn out to be the case. Now, I am more relaxed about it. If this clinic is not right, that just means it wasn’t meant to be, and there is actually something better out there.

All along, the right people have crossed my path at the right time, and now I simply take it as a matter of faith that the person I need will show up when they are supposed to. So, I will not be crushed if Holtorf Medical Group turns out to be a bust. It just means I need to hang on to my baton a little longer until the right person appears at my side. 

As they always have. 

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