A little over two years ago I began a journey that I could have never imagined myself experiencing in my wildest dreams. In the spring of 2013 I was a seemingly healthy individual, attending school at Peru State College as a full time student, was working out regularly, eating whatever my stomach desired, and felt as if I didn’t have a worry in the world. Being an avid hunter, I have always been exposed to ticks and honestly never thought too much about them other than the fact that you should “check for ticks” at the end of the day, but I never even really took that seriously to tell you the truth.
I found myself feeling generally ill in late April/early May of 2013 and didn’t think much of it at first. The symptoms were very vague at first and I found myself feeling “flu-like” but still looked healthy and in my mind I was still healthy. I didn’t think that there was a problem until I found myself feeling freezing cold with chills and a fever and general malaise, all while working construction inside a building that was no less than 90 degrees. I was initially treated with 10 days of antibiotics for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and was told that the antibiotics I was on would cover any possible tick borne illness that I might have been exposed to and never even got tested for anything at the time. Little by little my health began to decline and I found myself having to first cut out gluten (any wheat containing product along with many others), not to long after that I had to cut out dairy in order to even function, and about a year after that, in the spring of 2014, I had to cut sugar and carbs completely from my diet as well (including fruit and grains).
The biggest issues with my illness for around the first year stemmed from my stomach. I would find myself having to go to the bathroom upwards of 15-20 times per day while doing my best to get as much work done as possible. (ironically I was working construction as a plumber at the time). At the age of 20 I had to have a colonoscopy, which is only a fraction of the myriad of doctor’s appointments and tests I have had over the past two years. It seemed as if every doctor we went to had no idea what was wrong with me and I can even remember a quote from one of my doctors, “as a GI doctor, I really don’t have any clue what is going on with you”. The 2013-2014 school year was interesting to say the least. I found myself living in the dorms, unable to eat anything from the campus cafeteria, cooking my gluten and dairy free meals out of my micro fridge and microwave, and it is also safe to say that my Nutribullet became my best friend during this time.
In the spring of 2014 I found my symptoms becoming neurological in nature as I was dealing with extreme brain fog, was sleeping every moment that I was not in class and eventually in late march of that year found myself having seizure like tremor attacks, visual disturbances, heart palpitations, and many more symptoms ranging from anxiety to what I now realize was depression, that I had never experienced in my life before. Over the course of a year and a half I lost 75 pounds, I remember days where I would literally loose ten pounds from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed.
I was finally able to find a doctor in Shawnee Mission Kansas in August of 2014 who was willing to look into the possibility of Lyme disease. He diagnosed me with late stage chronic Lyme disease (I also am classified as having neurological Lyme disease due to my severe neurological complications) and started me on antibiotics immediately. I was on oral antibiotics this year for a total of seven months and also had a PICC line inserted and went through two months of IV antibiotic therapy. In combination with conventional antibiotics I use holistic and herbal approaches that I have extensively researched and use diet to heal as well. I grew my beard and hair out for Lyme disease awareness, and did not cut them until I started to show at least some minor improvements and stopped taking conventional antibiotics. Despite being on antibiotics for nine months straight, keeping a very strict diet, attacking the disease with a holistic approach and trying to heal my body as a whole, I still have a long road to recovery ahead of me.
Through it all I have remained nothing but positive and have only allowed the situation and experience to help me get back into and grow in my faith and as person through Christ. I look forward to explaining and giving full details of my full story in hopes of helping those who experience any hardship/ailment, physical or mental, find light in their suffering and realize that God has a plan for all of us and can truly make something beautiful out of what we may perceive as painful or overbearing.