Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Lyme Disease Update

It's been 8 months since my last update about Rich's Lyme disease, and for the majority of that time everything has been really good!
In case you are new around here, let me give you a quick overview: my husband got very sick in the fall of 2017. He had intense joint paint, night sweats, chills, brain fog, insomnia, lost a ton of weight in a short amount of time, and deteriorated very quickly. After the worst 4 months of both our lives where no doctor could figure out what was wrong with him he finally got the diagnosis of Lyme disease.

Just before Christmas of 2017 he was put on Doxycyline, an antiobiotic, and took it for 6 months. He also used CBD oil during that time.
He stopped taking Doxy in June of last year, and for 6 months he felt great. We had a hot, dry summer, warm fall and mild winter (until January), which most likely played a role in him feeling so good.

But at the beginning of January his shoulder pain returned and his knees started swelling up, so we did a blood test to check for inflammation in his body. A normal value is under 10 mg/L. When he first got sick, his level was sky-high at 58 mg/L.
Last July when he stopped taking antibiotics it was down to an excellent level of 6 mg/L.
But in January it went back up to 57 mg/L.
He's been back on antibiotics for a month, and will be on it for at least another one. This relapse is nowhere near as bad as his Lyme was when he first got it; no comparison. When his level of sickness in the beginning was a 10, he recovered to a 2 last summer and is now maybe at a 4. We caught it in time and he is improving, feeling a bit better every day. He can still drive and walk and take care of his animals.
He is having a hard time remembering names again, but that's what he has me for - I can supply them.

Rich has an amazing attitude to his illness. He doesn't complain about it (how rare is that in a man?), he doesn't feel sorry for himself, he simply keeps living his life. He loves life with abandon, and having Lyme hasn't diminished that - if anything, it increased it. It's true that you start appreciating life more when you begin to grasp its limited shelf-life, but Rich has always been that way.

In my book I wrote about how, when we first met, he told me that if he were to die today, he would die knowing he'd had a great life. That impressed me so much that I never forgot it. He is a man who lives life the way he wants, and he doesn't care what other people think about that. Since I have such a difficult time getting to that place myself I admire him greatly for it.
Rich is at an age where many of his friends are sick. A few have died. We are more aware of the fact that life can be over quickly than we ever have before. But it doesn't depress us, it makes us appreciate every day more. I believe that we don't think and talk about death enough in our culture. It's the most natural thing in the world, it's what we all have in common, yet it's such a taboo that we cringe with embarrassment when we have to talk to someone who recently lost a loved one.

We are so grateful for the life we created together. We are grateful for each other. And we are grateful for our health. Despite his Lyme disease, despite my mental health issues, we are both more healthy than sick. We have the use of our limbs, we are strong, we are happy. Our minds work fine (for the most part). Rich is in pain sometimes, but it's manageable.

He has lived with Lyme disease, unknowingly, for over 50 years. Despite that he has thrived: immigrated to a new country when he was 25, had 4 daughters, ran his business for almost 40 years, learnt to ride horses in his 40s, started over with a new wife when he was 50 (me!), fulfilled his dream of living on a ranch when he was 62.

He may have Lyme disease - but it doesn't have him.
The three of us are just fine.

   
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2 comments

  1. Sorry to hear about the relapse, Miriam but happy to know it was caught so quickly. Best to you both.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Elaine! It's much, much better than last year, and to be honest, we expected it to happen. Or at least we weren't surprised. He's on his way to getting better, it's all good!

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