Checking in, folks.
Well, I”ve been on quite an adventure since I last checked in. It seems Lyme Disease, if you don’t treat it immediately and soundly, is not so easy to fix.
This version of the disease is called Neuroborreliosis. Which is an infectious disease that comes from an untended Lyme infection. That is, I did not seek proper care when I was infected, or perhaps re-infected, and the bacteriae introduced by some long forgotten tick bite(s) had been calling my body home for many years before they were discovered, in February 2010.
For long-time SDP readers, I was was likely infected during those long, glorious runs and hikes in the Maine woods back early in the decade, when I would seek out (!) matted down deer beds to pee on really long runs. Sheesh. There was a rash I ignored, and well… The blood clot, the horrible headaches, the menses-from-hell, all part of the Lyme picture. As was the scary cognitive deficits that had me turning off the car as I drove down the road, and sitting at stoplights, not understanding their meaning, and unable to remember how to make the shower water hot or cold… crazy stuff.
Unfortunately, treatment for this disease is tricky, and individualized, and sometimes our best medicine can do little more than try to achieve a kind of uneasy truce with the bacteria. My response has been at times terrific, but lately thwarted by complications.
As a lifelong storyteller and communicator, the central frustration for me (putting aside the physical disabilities for now) is that the infection sometimes affects my ability to read, write, speak, or understand the spoken word. Also my hearing is affected, and my sensitivity to light limits spending time online, considerably. The good news is that the symptoms are not consistent. I have days when I feel great. Days when reading and writing is not very difficult at all.
But on those days when I can’t think straight, I’ve found it helps me to draw. I don’t know why. I’m a lifelong knitter, and I thought knitting would tide me over those times, but knitting hurts when the symptoms are flaring. Drawing doesn’t hurt.
Also, graphic novels are somehow, if not easier to follow, then just more pleasant for me, when my mind is mush. It doesn’t frustrate me to stare at a page of images the way it does to reread the same sentence 50 times, trying to decode it.
I am new to drawing. There is much I don’t know about it. But I won’t let that stop me. I have begun posting my drawings in another space, a drawing project that lets me work out my frustrations about Lyme, and also help to provide some information about this aspect of the disease that so few people understand.
I hope it will help others who are dealing with this nasty illness. My humor tends to be dark and snarky, though. And like a lot of people who have lived online a long time, I have a propensity to over-share. For those offended by that sort of thing, let this be my official apology and invitation to ignore it.
Oh, I should say this… I spend on average a third to half of my days in bed, in a quiet, dark room, wearing a mask, trying to sleep through horrible headaches and manage violent nausea. Good days are half about catching up with my life, loving my family and friends, and then there’s a little time to actually produce. I guess what I’m saying is, production is a crap-shoot.
I’m sure I’ll get back to writing about health again when it is possible for me to do that. That is a day I look forward to.
Meantime, I hope you are taking good care of yourselves. And please, please, please, if you are bitten by a tick, go to your nearest prime care or emergency room immediately. Do not wait out the weekend to do it. The sooner you treat this disease, the easier it is to beat it. Not beating it is not something you want to experience.
All my best, always,