I am sure that I am not alone when it comes to shirking my duties regarding preventative health care. We all have busy lives, children, and grandchildren, and it is sometimes difficult to make time for appointments, and tests. As the years fly by, we put everything on the back burner until something major happens to snap us back into reality.
I had just turned 50 when I was diagnosed with lyme disease. Being middle-aged, and trying to find a diagnosis for what ailed me was a challenge to say the least. I had already sailed through menopause, without a lot of issues, and aside from a bit of bitchiness, and minor hot flashes, I was thankful that I had come out on the other side quickly, and in better shape (mentally & physically) than some of my friends.
Because of my age, many of my aches, pains, and other symptoms were chalked up to “normal aging”. No matter how hard I tried to explain that my bouts with “sweats” were not anything like a hot flash, no matter how many times I explained that my pain “migrated”, no matter how many times I said that I was NOT depressed, I was continually dismissed, often with a prescription for antidepressants, and a referral to another doctor.
Luckily, I found a lyme literate NP, and was treated for 5 months, with oral antibiotics, cyst busters, bio-film busters, natural supplements, probiotics, and finally IV ceftriaxone, which in my case gave the most improvement with my neurological symptoms. Unfortunately, my LLNP had to move out-of-state, and treatment stopped. That was a year ago, and all of my symptoms have returned.
I headed off to my PCP who happens to be a member of the IDSA. I was immediately given a diagnosis of PTLDS, (post treatment lyme disease syndrome).
I followed all of the recommendations suggested by my PCP, took all tests required of my age group, and then some. These included blood work, mammogram, colonoscopy, x-rays, cat scans, ekg, and a stress test. I found that my blood pressure, and cholesterol were high, bone spurs were causing the pain in my neck, and I have an extra vertebra in my lower back, that may or may not be contributing to pain there.
I am now treating the high blood pressure, and cholesterol. I am scheduled for surgery at the end of April to hopefully lessen the pain in my neck and shoulder, and once that is done, we will address some other issues.
I am currently not being treated for lyme, but I am still watching what I eat. I only use Himalayan pink salt, I avoid sugar, and try to stay away from GMO’s and processed foods. I use coconut oil for oral health, and it is wonderful for post-menopausal skin care. (especially face & neck, I have seen a huge improvement in that area) I still use probiotics, and I try to get out and walk, as much as my body will let me. Sometimes we have to push ourselves a little.
As middle aged people with lyme, our bodies are ever changing, and new symptoms may appear. No matter how busy we are, we should always keep up with our preventative care. This is one way we can be sure our newest symptom is not due to a new condition. After all, we want to be around for as long as we can, and ruling out cancer, diabetes, and heart disease is a step in the right direction.
I have days when I am too tired to think. I have days when the sound of my grandchildren playing causes me to become agitated. I have memory issues, and days when I don’t get out of bed. I have days when my hands hurt so badly, I can’t hold a pen. I have migraines that last for days. I have days when I can barely walk to the bathroom. I have ticks, and twitches. I have LYME DISEASE.
The worst thing we can do is to surrender to lyme. With the time we have left, we must fight, and advocate for others who will come after us.