My experience with poor health began in my 16th year. I developed extreme migraines which lasted for days at a time, the doctors said you’ll just have to learn to live with them. So I did. I was a wimp when it came to pain but I learned to live my life in spite of it. Looking back I believe God was preparing me for the intense pain I would face in my twenties.
Through the years my health improved and worsened by turn. I was put on several different diets to no avail. Then at nineteen, I had an episode in which I fainted then came to, but couldn’t respond for about 5 minutes. This happened I think 4 times at approximately 6 month intervals, getting a bit worse each time. My doctors didn’t know what to make of these episodes and one diagnosed me with vertigo and another concluded that I simply fainted easily.
The 1st several weeks of November of 2009 were incredibly busy. I was getting ready to go on a mission trip with my youth group and ignored the steadily worsening headache because I was too busy to sleep it off. After several days it had climbed to a level 7 and after teaching my class of 14, I went to church for council meeting. And there it was at church that I had my first major seizure. Wow! Talk about embarrassing.
The doctors decided the seizure was caused by stress and I began the search for answers. 5 months and 2 seizures later, I was diagnosed with Neurological Lyme Disease by a Doctor in PA and began treatment a month later.
My main symptoms were:
seizures – they would last for hours. Twisting, jerking and pain. I would get so exhausted and have no idea how my body could continue to seize. My seizures followed a peculiar pattern. They always happened at night, I never lost consciousness, and my entire body would twist backward. My wrists, fingers, ankles, knees, and my back would twist backward. If someone tried to straighten me, I would jerk back into the twisted position.
extreme brain fog – I could hardly carry a conversation. I would get very nervous if I had to try to talk to someone. To be in a group of people and try to follow a conversation was very difficult.
dizziness – my balance was really bad. I depended on a cane for over a year.
memory loss – I would be driving and suddenly not know where I was or forget how to get home. I would do something and then 5 minutes later have no idea what I’d done. I would try to sing a song and get halfway through and suddenly the words were gone, I had no idea how to finish the song. I would misplace everything. People say, “Oh that happens to me too.” Not like this. It drives you crazy and you think you’re loosing your mind. Which you are.
Pain – constant pain. The four hours between pain pills seemed like an eternity.
Paralysis – I lost the use of my legs. I was in a wheel chair for several months before I graduated to Bart, my lime green cane.
Fatigue & Insomnia – I would be desperately tired and yet I would lie awake for hours.
Headaches – a pounding, stabbing pain that could literally stop me in my tracks.