- Lance Armstrong
All right. This is the topic I knew had to come, and this is the topic I knew I'd have one of the hardest times writing. I'm shaking a little even trying to think of it.
But it has to be written.
I had no pain killers for the first several years after I was diagnosed with Lyme. I had tylenol. Ibuprofen.
That was it.
It never helped--and I mean those over the counter pills never helped at all--but I coped. Mostly.
Except over time, the pain got worse. It's hard to describe all of it.
Intensity-wise, I can say that I was on a very strong prescription pain killer, and it did not touch the pain at all. Part of that may have been my fault; I never took the full dose as written, especially when I learned some people were spreading rumors I was a drug addict. And yes, my doctor yelled at me for not taking the full dose.
Eventually, I had no choice but to take the full dose. Thing is, though, I have this neat genetic quirk from my father's side of the family. It does many things. One ting it does? I can't get drunk, or even tipsy, no matter how much I drink. The one time I was drink was because my appendix was about to rupture and my system went haywire.
More to the point, it means my body gets, well, sort of "used" to pain killers quickly.
And then they stop working.
The pain was bad enough that when the prescription pain killer I was on stopped working--which neither I nor my doctor had realized yet--I collapsed, literally, on campus, and had to be taken to an emergency room. And I thank God that the doctor who treated me knew about Lyme, figured out what happened, and got the pain under control until I could see my normal doc.
That's intensity, though. What's it actually like?
When bartonella flares up, I barely sleep at all. I might get six hours of sleep in two days. Medications do nothing to help.
When I walk during that time, it feels like I'm constantly stepping on shards of hot glass. My lower leg muses ache constantly, as do my arms, and nothing touches the pain. Nothing.
When the babesia flares up, I sleep all the time and I just ache. All over. And the best way to describe it is that I feel sick. Puny. I want my comfort things; my dad reading to me like he did when I was a child, my cat, my own bed, my favorite blanket.
And the Lyme, well. The Lyme is aways there. I'll go into all the symptoms of it in another post, but to give you an idea now?
I always--and I mean always--feel like i have the flu. Which is extremely dangerous, because when I actually get the flu--which I do most years, because I cannot take the flu shot for allergy reasons--I don't notice that I'm sick until the flu is in a rather advanced stage.
Which is how I ended up with pneumonia this year, by the way; didn't catch the flu signs almost at all, and the flu weakened my system and went into walking pneumonia.
My joints ache all the time, especially my hands, my back, my right hip and my right knee. My right knee actually gives out frequently which means 1) I fall a lot, and 2) I now have to use a cane.
There are nerves which run up the back of your neck and over your skull. I feel them more day than not, and I feel them because they're inflamed and causing me such migraines that I feel sometimes like I must be dying.
And the inflammation. The inflammation is horrible. Lyme eats up magnesium like it's candy, and after having it so long, I finally am suffering the effects.
In three days, I gained ~35-40 lbs, all water, due to inflammation.
I can't just exercise and eat healthily to lose the weight, either--because, after all, the cause is the lack of magnesium. I give myself shorts, and I'm going to have IVs of it.
Both the shots and IVs hurt. A lot, really. But I don't have much of a choice.
I don't look fat, the way the inflammation spread out. I know this. But I don't feel like I'm in my own body any longer. And that's one more thing that Lyme has taken from me.
Some of the pain is emotional, not physical, after all.
I could go on. For the Lyme, at least, I'll make another post with a list of all Lyme symptoms, highlighting the ones I have--and, as I'll mention again in that post, if you have 20 or more of the listed symptoms, you should see a doctor ASAP about Lyme.
But there's a fine line between sharing and complaining, and I'm working hard not to cross that. So I'll end this here.
For those of you who've read this post, though? Thank you more than ever for doing so.
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