(Today’s post comes from our guest Dr. Jaison Golojuh who shares the story of his journey and experience with Lyme Disease.)
June 10, 2012 is the one year anniversary of my exposure to Lyme Disease. I first want to take a moment to thank everyone who rescheduled their visits, who ‘looked’ past my bilateral facial paralysis, and just generally supported me through the most difficult time in my life. I actually had patients in my office break down in tears when they saw me. I had more than one actually say a prayer for me right in the office. I cannot express how much I appreciate people sticking with me through this process.
Please note that I have pictures of the ‘bulls-eye’ lesion, but I did not want to presume that everyone reading this would want to see them. If you would like to see the pictures please send me an e-mail and I will be happy to send them.
When I was first exposed, I had no clue what I was dealing with. In fact, I didn’t even know I was exposed to Lyme. Remember, I was in Chicago taking my Naturopathic Board Exam. I started to feel very sick during the third and fourth part of the exam. I had to drive back home that day, I started the drive and a level of pain that I never experienced in my life hit me. It felt like I was being stabbed in the shoulders with hot pokers. As I continued the drive the pain got worse, I developed chills and severe fatigue. I reached Youngstown, OH. I called Karly (she was in Wisconsin) at that point I was in a full blown panic attack. She urged me to pullover and find a hotel, but I just wanted to get home.
When I got home, my parents were at my house with the girls. My Mom simply told me ‘you look really bad’. I assured her I was ok and went to bed (yes I lied to my Mom). That was a Friday. Long story short by Sunday, my Dad stopped to check on me and wanted to take me to the hospital. That is the day that I noticed the lesion on my right thigh. You probably never thought about it but you don’t look at you thigh very much. It was a definite ‘bulls-eye’.
The next two weeks were a blur of pain, headaches, no sleep, visual disturbances, fatigue, muscle pain, facial paralysis, and a lot of fear. Finally, I performed a full blood analysis and a Lyme titer (research and the lesion on my leg prompted this test). The regular blood work came back and the findings were frightening. I review blood work almost daily. As I looked at mine, I could not believe what I was seeing. My iron was beyond low, my HDL cholesterol was low, my total cholesterol was low, my liver enzymes were high. A few days later the Lyme titer came back positive.
At that point, I had my diagnosis and I had a target. I need to mention that the medical field was less than helpful. When I went to see a doctor (just before the blood work came back) I was told that I had a ‘virus’ or I had a stroke. I was 36 years old, I was reasonably sure that I didn’t have a stoke. I will admit that I almost had one when I heard that diagnosis. I had the lesion on my leg and a bunch of symptoms that were very suspicious for Lyme. I simply wanted antibiotics just incase the Lyme titer came back positive. I was refused antibiotics and told to go get a CAT scan. I refused the CAT scan and the doctor told me I was released for not following medical advice.
I ended up finding a cooperative doctor to Rx me a 28 day dose of doxy. I found a Naturopath in Pittsburgh to help follow me through my case. I started taking well over 40 natural, homeopathic, and nutritional products. I upped my chiropractic care, cranial work and massages. I was determined to fight this and heal.
It took until August 10th to ‘feel’ a positive change. I actually texted my family that I could move my right nostril (small victories right?). Seriously, I was excited to move my nose again. I could feel improvement every month after that. January was when I felt like myself for the first time since June 10th.
I lost last summer. I missed the 4th of July, I missed my 13th Wedding Anniversary, I missed Ella’s fourth Gotcha Day, I missed Zari’s first Gotcha Day, I missed the Butler Fair (which Ella loves), I missed playing in the yard with my daughters. There were many nights when I did not know if I were going to wake up the next morning.
In a sense I was lucky to get so sick so fast and I developed the ‘bulls-eye’ lesion. The lesion only develops in 40% of the cases and symptoms are often slow to appear. The fact that I can order my own blood work and analyze it really helped. I was able to get a jump on the bacteria that most people do not. Most importantly I was not swayed by medical opinion. I would have probably been six months into this case and still not had any specific diagnosis.
That leads me to the most important lesson: DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THIS BACTERIA. I cannot stress this point enough. There is a severe lack of understanding on how to treat the actual bacteria and the damage that it does to the body. I have dedicated the past year of my life to understanding Lyme Disease. I became an expert in the treatment of Lyme, not because I wanted to be but because I had to be. The longer you let this go untreated the more damage it will do.
There are more people than you can imagine who have chronic Lyme Disease and do not even know it. Many chronic patients have told me that before they were diagnosed with Lyme they were told to go get psychiatric help.
I have the tools and know how to help. The most important thing that I have is direct experience with Lyme. I lost a summer, many people are losing years.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you for passing this information on to people who need it. Most of all thank you for all the prayers.