One family's journey through the medical nightmare of Lyme disease.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
It's a new day, day 101. The sun is out and the snow is fresh and beautiful. I've finished my last infusion. My nurse will be here shortly to remove my picc line. It feels a bit like being in a life boat and losing your paddles. I'm not worried about having my line pulled. It's painless. It's just that in the past, I've slipped on oral antibiotics before. That leaves one a bit nervous. This was my third picc line. Hopefully, it will be my last.
How do you know when it has been long enough? The double vision has subsided, my liver enzymes need a break and I've been away from my family for a long time. It's enough.
So tomorrow, I am heading home to begin the next phase of this journey. For those of you who know my girls, please keep it a surprise. They will be so excited! I'm looking forward to trying the "toaster" my husband ordered. Yes, I know, it looks like a gimmick from the fifties, but I was intrigued by Ashley's January post about FAR Infrared Saunas and am hopeful my our new sauna will provide an added edge toward healing. My husband has already fallen in love with it. I can't wait to return to the pool at physical therapy and now that I'm thinking of water, three cheers for showers where you can get both arms wet! Heavenly! Home. I can hardly wait! It's going to be a good day!
"Do you have any questions? You may ask anything."
During the fall of 2008, just moments after learning I had Lyme disease and several co-infections, I was reeling with emotion. Relief to finally have an accurate diagnosis, anger it had taken so long, validation of various symptoms and anomalies in blood work, frustration that the Lupus treatment had worsened symptoms, sadness about being away from my family for treatment, anxiousness to feel better, and a pit in my stomach at the possibility our daughters also had the disease.
"Where should we take them?"
Their symptoms? Daily headaches, joint pains, severe asthma, severe sleep apnea, fatigue, insomnia, frequent respiratory, ear and urinary tract infections. Our oldest was losing ground cognitively. Our youngest had been born with severe intrauterine growth retardation, resulting from a problem with the placenta. Entering this world at 2 pounds 9 ounces, she had been fighting with a compromised immune system since birth. She was born with a rare eye defect known as primary hyperplastic persistent vitreous that had resulted in the removal of a stalk of blood vessels and then her lens in her right eye. She had worn a contact in her right eye since three months old, contact and bifocals since 5 yrs. By the age of two her growth had nearly stopped and she began nightly growth hormone injections. Lymph nodes in her neck were enlarged. She had severe sensitivity to environmental allergens that would trigger rages and horrible headaches. Autistic-like behaviors included flapping her hands like a bird. Sometimes we would get frozen in the grocery store, I with milk bottle suspended in mid-air because she would know that it had to go in one perfect place in the cart to avoid becoming very agitated, but she was unable to tell me where to put it down. Her drawings often a flurry of black scribbles.
We were fortunate my doctor had pediatric experience. Our oldest tested positive for Lyme disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, HV6, CMV and Epstein-Barr. She began immediate treatment. I remembered a time a few years earlier when her platelets dropped and she was evaluated for autoimmune diseases. The specialist took me quietly aside and told me it was not unusual for a child to assimilate the symptoms of a chronically ill parent. Ironically, her symptoms mirrored my own because we shared the same disease and viruses.
Our youngest joined our "picc team" three weeks later. Fortunately, my husband did not have the disease. It hasn't been an easy road for any of us, but the girls have come so far in their treatments, it warms our hearts and gives us much to celebrate. I'm improving, too, just at a slower rate. Chris and the girls have been so supportive during my third and hopefully final picc line as we continue to strive for a healthy family; a dream shifting to reality with each passing day.