Thursday, May 14, 2020

My New Adventure: the Rabbit Hole of Lyme Disease

This post has been on my mind a lot since I found out at a few short months ago that I have Lyme Disease and several tick related coinfections. After debating with myself about letting my readers know, I ultimately decided that yes, Thrifty Artsy Girl is more than just a blog about my DIY crafts, home improvements and the occasional recipe. I've put my heart and soul into this blog and if I can bring awareness about something so personal and it helps even just one person, then I need to share my new journey.

I waited until May to share my story since not only is May Lyme Disease awareness month but I wanted to learn as much as I could about this controversial disease before I wrote about it. Once I started researching I was easily overwhelmed, from Chronic Lyme (also known as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome), to multiple misdiagnoses, to subpar testing, to most insurance companies not covering Lyme treatment and even doctors not being taught about Lyme Disease at all.

This post isn’t meant to be a total informational overload of Lyme Disease facts because A: I’m not an LLMD (Lyme literate doctor), and B: I’d be lying if I said I’ve learned enough (in the past 3 months since being diagnosed) to be comfortable spouting off tons of facts, although I am going to share some of what I’ve learned to bring awareness to Lyme Disease.

The only thing I knew about Lyme before finding out I had it was 1. It comes from ticks and 2. There was a girl on one of the early seasons of Real World with really curly brown hair who had Lyme Disease. Yes, I’m showing my age and ignorance but most people (including myself, until now) don’t know much, if anything, about Lyme Disease.

This is pretty disturbing because Lyme Disease is the highest vector-borne (meaning it comes from blood sucking bugs) disease in the U.S. with over 300,000 cases a year. A lot of people don’t even know they have Lyme Disease because they never saw or felt a tick biting them. Some people get lucky (haha, not really) and when they get bit by a tick they either see it and/or get a bullseye rash at the bite area. They are then treated with antibiotics and considered “cured”. I put cured in quotes because no one is ever really cured, most people are just able to live their lives without any further complications while a small amount still have symptoms after treatment (Chronic Lyme).

I have been bitten by ticks, however my last known tick bite was over 12 years ago and I did not develop a bullseye rash. My doctor informed me that I could have very well contracted Lyme Disease back then as Lyme can lay dormant for weeks, months or even years. If that is the case then I could have passed it to my children in utero. I personally know two women who have passed on Lyme Disease to their children. That is beyond scary to me.

One more thing I want to share about Lyme Disease is that it is known as “the great imitator” because its symptoms imitate several other diseases. Many people get misdiagnosed for years and/or never find out that what they really had was Lyme Disease. I found this informative list on kimmiecakeskickslyme blog about her personal story with Lyme Disease:

I found out I had Lyme Disease by accident. I had seen a general practitioner a couple of years ago inquiring about possibly having Hypothyroidism and they tested me and said I was perfect. I knew I wasn’t but I just continued to suffer and put off going to another doctor until I could find one that was either more knowledgeable or would do more extensive testing.

My main symptoms for thinking I had Hypothyroidism were extreme fatigue, my face was puffy and I was always super cold. Then during the entire month of July in 2019 I developed horrible headaches that lasted all day for the entire month. Nothing would get rid of these headaches and after researching I found a bunch of possible crazy reasons (not one of them Lyme Disease) but chalked it up to seasonal allergies. I also started getting joint pain and my back started hurting all the time but I just figured it was because I was getting older or sleeping wrong.  Deep down I knew that I needed to see a doctor because how I was feeling was not normal.

Around that same time my sister, who has a thyroid problem, along with every other female in my family (thyroid problems are commonly inherited) tagged me in a Facebook post about doctors in the area that were experts on thyroid issues. That is how I found my functional medicine doctors, who also happen to be LLMDs!

I didn’t actually go until January of this year because I’m a procrastinator and I felt like I didn’t have time being so busy with life. It got to the point where I was completely miserable with how my body felt, so I finally went. After going over all of my symptoms my doctor said I’m pretty sure you have Hypothyroidism and maybe Lyme Disease. I laughed it off because I hadn’t been bit by a tick in so long.

After 35 vials of blood and a fecal sample (which I thought was excessive at the time) I was diagnosed with: Hypothyroidism, Lyme Disease, Babesia, Bartonella, Tick Borne Relapsing Fever, active Epstein-Barr, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Hypocalcemia, and a gluten sensitivity along with multiple other food sensitivities. It took several appointments to find out all this information and it’s been a lot to take in since I went into all this thinking I just had Hypothyroidism. It’s definitely going to be a long process as I haven’t even started Lyme treatment yet. You would think that would be the first step, but I need to get my digestive system healthy first so in turn my immune system can get stronger.

I shared my personal story and diagnoses today not to have a pity party, but to bring awareness, not only to Lyme Disease but to your body. I pride myself in being a strong woman, but when I felt like I'd been hit by a truck every single day I knew I had to do something other than power through it or eventually I wouldn't be able to function. Don't be like me and wait until you feel absolutely dreadful. Find the time and go to the doctor if you don't feel good. If you still don't feel right or aren't getting better after diagnosis and treatment then you must advocate for yourself. You are the only one who knows how you are feeling. Research doctors until you find one that will listen, truly help you and that you are completely comfortable with.

Thanks to all for reading about the beginning of my Lyme journey. Hopefully next year at this time I can celebrate with a healthy outcome!


  1. Hi Sherry,
    Thanks for all your great info. and tips for our homes.
    You are wise to share your current issues with Lyme Disease (and other things) and what you have learned about your health.
    It sounds like you are in a situation of needing to focus on your health for some time. All I can say as a woman who also would not have let a few aches and pains at your age slow me down, at 72 I have learned "life doesn't pass anyone by". By sharing your experience, you are making a positive situation out of something not so positive. You will work through this, you will come out on the other side. It may be that you need to manage your health or you may be rid of the issues. Please don't stop looking for solutions. We have access to so much information these days, use the internet to learn about solutions to every health issue. Be relentless about getting well and help others. I hope these suggestions and encouragement are helpful, they are all doable. Kind thoughts, Sandy Richardson, Atlanta, Ga.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Sandy! I'm definitely in this for the long haul and have already changed my diet along with my whole family, so we all in turn will be healthier. That alone is a bright spot in this daunting situation. The internet is my best friend right now for information about getting better. We only get one body and that is more clear to me now than ever before. I plan to continue sharing my journey with my readers to encourage and inspire living a healthier life!

    2. My symptoms of Lyme disease occurred in 2017, but was diagnosed in 2019. I had severe symptoms ranging from headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans, i had difficulty with my joints, heart, and my nervous system.. I was given medications which helped but only for a short burst of time, then I decided to try alternative measures and began on Lyme Formula treatment from a health care herbal centre, It has made a tremendous difference for me (Visit  w w w . healthcareherbalcentre . com)

  2. One really good resource for you regarding reading about conditions and supplements all based on legit scientific research is Life Extension Foundation. is the website. You can learn A TON!!!! It combines the best of Western medicine with the newest findings of natural remedies. I highly recommend you check it out! They have a monthly magazine and medical counselors you can talk to along with lab tests and all sorts of benefits.

  3. My father had Lyme disease and what all who knows. It was very hard to know what caused his problems but I suspect he had either recurrent or chronic Lyme disease or other tick borne illness. He was in the woods constantly. One time he collapsed while in the garden. He said he felt "devastated". I took his BP and I couldn't even get one! He had a lot of problems after that including weakness, dementia, etc... I wish you all the best!

    1. Thank you! I am very lucky in the aspect that I had blood work done (through IGeneX) that was very sensitive to detecting infections or I might not know what was causing all my symptoms today. It's quite scary to think there are so many suffering from Lyme Disease and other tick borne illnesses that will never know that that is the problem!

    2. Yes, you are IS really scary since who could even notice these pinpoint tiny deer ticks, I mean, it's crazy! There are a lot of places on my body I can't even see...(lol). Who knows? I have some weird symptoms myself, I wouldn't be surprised if I have had exposure to tick borne illness.


Blogger template designed By Sherri.