Part 13 of 13 of Anna’s Story at CanadianLymeStories.com
Other people also helped me. My husband was a rock as I tacked back and forth in the pernicious wind of the drops. At one point he made up a song to the tune of ‘Go Ask Alice’ that went something like, ‘One bottle makes you cranky, one bottle makes you sad. The next bottle is combative, another makes you mad…’ But that was about as mean as he got.
I add, only because I think that the relationship stresses that one person (let along two) being sick puts on a situation are extreme and potentially very unhelpful, that it wasn’t all funny songs and rose petals between us. When I first got the diagnosis my husband took it, in some ways, harder than I did. His response was to bark at me on the phone when I called him: ‘We don’t know what this really is.’ The fact that he wasn’t nicer hurt my feelings. Of course, the situation was also very anxiety provoking for him.
I have since tried to calm myself down a little before I call him with bad news. This puts more pressure on a couple of my friends… and I try to always get them really good bottles of wine at Christmas.
I also got (and continue to get) a great amount of help from my osteopath. Many of my symptoms expressed in compromised cognitive functioning. It was interesting, in a morbid way, to go and have him give me a series of balance and eye motion tests to find out what wasn’t working brain-wise.
One thing after another was weird. One week my skin broke out in stripes. Another week I got 25 cankers in my mouth, along with 15 zits, all on one side. I realized later that it was the side I slept on, which made me feel like I had jet fuel for saliva. For a couple of weeks I had the craziest level of bright yellow earwax. I could have made candles. One week my eyes wouldn’t work, my vision would be blurry, and the next week they’d be better than I could remember. It was nuts.
My osteopath would decipher what was what, and I would feel better for knowing. At one point when my mood started crashing around like shingles in a hurricane he suggested I take 5HTP to help with serotonin pickup. It seemed to help.
Another person who helped me was my friend Scott at the gym. Ever since I had started getting better I realized that I felt 100% better after vigorous exercise. (Before I got my thyroid medication this wasn’t true. In those days it wore me out. This demonstrated for me again the complex layers of these sorts of illnesses.)
Scott is handsome and athletic and a bit sarcastic. He is obsessed with diet, exercise and his two little girls. In some ways he’s an unlikely character to have just the kind of rough please-get-over-yourself-and-get-on-that-treadmill-cloaked compassion that was just about as much compassion as I could deal with.
His advice was to make sure I got my heart rate up. He explained that working up a sweat would help flush out the toxins collecting from the die off. Every time I went to the gym and forced myself through his advice I felt better. A little of the depressing fog that had settled over my life would have blown off. Exercise (and Scott) were saving graces during my time on the drops.
And then there were my friends, and, especially, my drip friends. My regular life friends were nice and patient with me telling them all these weird things. They made me feel loved and I really appreciate them. I also think they could not really relate. Hanging around once a week with a few people who were going through some of the same kinds of difficulties, and working on the same slow frustrating exercise, feels like it saved my life.
At the drip we were good to each other and we’d cry with laughter at things that no one else would think was funny. We shared stories about the doctors who had blown us off or made us feel that we were crazy or complainers. The chance to sit with people you respect and commiserate with is healing. It’s sad to think that you are not the only one, and also crazily comforting.
Spreading a bit of that sunlight is something we hoped to accomplish with this blog. This road is hard and long. Many of our lives will have been changed forever. Some days that breaks my heart. Some days it doesn’t. Certainly we are much less alone than we would have been before the Internet. We can all thank the Universe for that. Or, (if you’re less ethereal) we can thank Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, credited with inventing the World Wide Web.
Wishing you all the best.
Keywords: Friends, support groups, osteopathy, exercise