“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…. I know you are with me..”
First off, this blog scares me! Not only am I sharing an intimate and personal part of my life, I’m also a nurse and I’m horrible at grammar! (So if you find mistakes in this blog you have been warned!!!!)Next, I am so hoping that this blog that I have paid to post will reach people, and will actually help someone out there. (Then again, this is very therapeutic and it’s way cheaper than visiting a psychologist. Not saying that you shouldn’t go if you need to, I think it’s great! but this is way cheaper!!!) My biggest fear is that, I will be too sick in the next six months of my treatment I cannot come back up here to update you. Which leads me to why am here…….
My fiancé and I during our trip for our anniversary
Hi! My name is Jessica Miranda. But most of my friends and family call me Jess or Jessii. You can call me whatever you want, just be nice! On Wednesday, October 4, 2019, after five years of doctors appointments, being told I was crazy, Lord knows how many needles and vials of blood, countless flare ups, too many tears shed and all the daily struggles, I was told that I have Lyme disease.Now, the first question I get asked when I have told people that I will be getting tested for Lyme “When the heck were you bitten by a tick?” and to be honest….. I have no idea. You see, I have lived in Florida since I was five, which means 24 years, and I know what you are thinking ladies, “did she just reveal her age?!?!?!” Yes I did, there’s a point to that in later blogs to come. Most people believe that there is no way that you could have Lyme disease when you have lived in Florida as long as I have, but here’s an educational moment for everybody, Lyme disease is on the rise and it’s here in Florida. Lyme disease primarily comes from being bitten by ticks, deer ticks to be exact. And there are tons of deer’s in Florida. Have I ever pulled a tick off of my person? No, never remember doing that. Have I ever even seen a tick? Yes, I actually pulled one off of my boxer Eva around the same time that my symptoms started five years ago. I didn’t know what Lyme disease was until just recently and if I had been bitten, I would have chucked up the rash to a mosquito bite since I am allergic and there is no way of not getting bitten here in Florida.
The point to all this is that I have decided to start this blog to document the next 6 months of my journey with Lyme. I will be starting treatment this Sunday October 7th2018 and I want to document the raw, real and what might be emotional journey leading up to my wedding day April 4th2019.
So lets start the journey off from Wednesday, since that’s when everything became real……..
Wednesday started off like any other day. I was super excited to go see the doctor, not only did he order so many test that I never heard of, I knew that he had answers that I had be searching for the last five years. I went it was normal, check-in, vitals, said hi to everyone and got into a room. As I waited for the doctor, I played with my phone, I looked around the room seeing all the “biohazard signs” and the tiny little sink that they always have in these small rooms. I read all the flyers on the walls, and just though about all the questions I didn’t want to forget to ask him. Just a normal appointment, expect this time, I would be getting answers. And then the doctor came in and things didn’t seem as normal anymore.
First of all, the doctor is really really nice. He’s came highly recommended by multiple people and has wonderful bedside manner. When he came in, he shook my hand, gave me a hug and then the following words that came out of his mouth……. (side note, He told me this in Spanish. So in Spanish, it doesn’t sound as bad. But the English translations is a little harsh so I just thought I would point that out. I didn’t take it in offense, so neither should anyone reading this. Honestly, I felt like I was talking to a family member, so I was very comfortable. Okay, now back to the story.)
“Dang girl, you are really f-ked up.” Now I know what you’re thinking, “How does a nurse, who learns about bedside manner allow her doctor to talk to her like?”I did warn you that the English translation was a bit harsh. I knew he was being funny and trying to break the ice, but I also kind of knew he was serious. I mean, for the past five years I haven’t been feeling like myself, so I figured there was something up. So he started to go over my Lyme disease test first. He explained that the Lyme was what was probably causing everything else I have ever been “diagnosed” with. He then explained that it was very important that I didn’t get pregnant without planning first. See, Lyme disease can cause miscarriages. There are already a history of that in my family, so not planning a pregnancy would be really really stupid. But I already knew that. I knew that it was going to be a while before I would be able to be what I wanted to be since I was a little girl, a mother. And that was ok; I’m getting married in six months, we were going to wait. He then explained that every pregnancy, I would be on treatment to protect the baby. That’s ok, anything to protect my future children. We then went over my allergy test. Not only do I have Lyme, I am also very sensitive and allergic to so many things. Let me tell y’all something, I’m Puerto Rican. Telling a Puerto Rican who is also obsessed with the Ketogenic diet that she cannot eat pork, chicken and beef for a long time, you might as well have told me I wouldn’t be enjoying food for a long time! Then normal labs were discussed. All things I already knew. (I will discuss labs more in detail in another blog). The last thing discussed was the amount of yeast in my gut. That is where we were going to start for the treatment. He called one of the other doctors into the room so she could learn, because apparently my case is very interesting (lol), and also so we can all talk about my treatment plan. The other daughter doctor also has Lyme and has been battling for a while but my doctor is now taking good care of her and she’s doing better. When I asked them if I would stop feeling the pain and weakness in my arms, hands and wrist, the doctor changed tones. You see, LYME DISEASE IS NOT CUREABLE. So treating it unless you are pregnant or are having really bad symptoms is not necessary at my age. A lot of my symptoms could be explained by the high amount of yeast. Take away the yeast, help my life quality and we can worry about Lyme later. But my pain, yeast doesn’t explain that. So the treatment plan changed from just getting rid of yeast to actually fighting of the Lyme to “put it to sleep” until it was time for a baby.
Let me explain something really quick, up until this point, I was ok with everything. Yes I cried a little bit, but it was more the overwhelming feeling of finally having an answer. But what we talked about next, that’s what really put me in a bad spot.
The Herx reaction, also known as the healing crisis is what happens when you try to get rid of nasty infections like Lyme. Basically, Lyme is like a little kid that is pulling at the dogs tail. The dog feels pain and doesn’t react right away because the dog is trying to be patience. Patience’s runs out, the dog growls or barks at the child and then the child get angry that the dog reacted and throws a tantrum. Well, Lyme lives in the blood cells. It wreaks havoc on the body, us as patients take our medications that break the Lyme cells apart and the Lyme gets mad and retaliates. What doesn’t retaliation look like? The way my doctor described it was “death”. He told me that I would feel like I was “dying” and that I just had to remember that I wasn’t. Let me ask y’all a question, anyone knows what dying feels like? I sure do not. I later got explained that it was basically all my symptoms multiplied by 1500. That really doesn’t sound fun if you ask me.
I don’t remember much else that was discussed after that. My mind kind of went numb. My fiancé called me when I was waiting for the nurse to come give me a shot and I just cried. I got all my paperwork and I left. The specialty pharmacy called me so I could fill one of my scripts and I just sat there really wondering if this was my life. I called my mom and I just cried. I called my cousin and just cried. I just felt defeated. But then my cousin told me “Girl, you are still breathing, the devil hasn’t won yet”.Then I remembered that I just needed to adjust this crown and remember whose daughter I was.
Am I still scared? Yes I am. There are moments that thoughts come in my head and I think that the pain is going to be so bad that I won’t be able to take it. I think about my nieces and nephews and wonder I’ll be able to pick them up. I wonder about my dogs who have been my strength and if I’m going to be able to walk them. I think about my fiancé and the weight that this is going to bear on him. He already goes to school every day and works the days that he is of from school. What if I cannot get the housework done, will he be able to take that stress too? I think about my parents, and how they’re going to have to watch their daughter go through this. I think about my siblings who always tell me that they look up to me and I’m going be in the weakest part of my life and I hope they’re so proud of me. I think about everyone around me, and how this is going to affect them. But one thing I hold onto is my faith.
God has shown up everyday of my life, and He is showing up right now. This didn’t come from God and God will use this for His glory and I am honored to have to face this battle for His glory. I am not ashamed to declare that I am about to go into war because God is right their with me, whom shall I fear. “When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I know you are with me.” You can’t have a shadow without a light and I know that God is the light in my shadows.
I hope you will stay tuned with my on this next 6 month journey that will lead up to my wedding day. This treatment will not be easy, but I promise that I already know how it ends. Me in victory because God already has the victory.
This is day 0.
Disclaimer: I know that there might be some people that don’t believe in God out there reading my posts and might have Lyme disease and are looking for a positive attitude to help them get through. I respect that you don’t believe so please respect that I do. I will never tell anyone that if you don’t believe you won’t be able to get through because that is not true. God loves you whether you believe or not and I hope that by me sharing my story, you can find encouragement to keep going too.
God bless you all.