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Lyme Isn't a Crutch. It's a Catalyst.

I was diagnosed January of 2014 after my immune system plummeted when I came down with the Epstein barr virus (mono). It was devastating and relieving news all at the same time. I contracted it around the age of ten when I was living in the woods of NJ. For over a decade I was in and out of doctor’s offices running tests and looking for answers. When the tests results came in positive it gave me something to treat, something to work on. Before, I was discouraged and frustrated, shooting in the dark with strict diets, supplements, and palliative measures. I finally knew what my body was screaming at me so desperately trying to communicate. On the outside I look healthy, but on the inside I feel like my body is failing me and at 22 years old that is not acceptable. I have my entire life ahead of me and I will not let this disease change how I live.

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Keri Fisher

Question: Letting go. In the process of being diagnosed with Lyme Disease, what things have you had to sacrifice and let go of? And how do you cope and adjust to this new way of life?

Keri: Letting go is very hard, especially because I really loved my extremely active and on-the-go life, and I miss it. By the age of 26 I had traveled to over 20 countries, lived abroad twice, and earned two college degrees. I find myself saying “before I got sick I did this...” “when I was healthy I was very...” so that type of language and thought implies that I can’t be myself or be who I am because of my symptoms and how this disease has plagued my brain. Besides the stress and pain of being sick, we are sick with bacterias that our government denies and doesn’t even know how to test for or treat! Now that I am out of my brain fog and have my short-term memory back, I adjust and cope by practicing non-attachment from yoga, realize that every moment, emotion, and body ache is fleeting, and I tell myself and my body how much I love them.

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For Suzanne

We hiked for nearly two months and approached the Vermont border. I can't describe how amazing it felt to be so far along the trail, with only a few states left, especially when those states held some of the best hiking yet to come.

The days heading into Vermont turned strange however. I noticed Suzanne (the girl I mentioned before / the one this story is really all about, even though it has taken me far too long to get to the point) just wasn't herself. At first I honestly though she might just be on her period. We had overcome this obstacle however, quite smoothly I might add.

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Aviva Peltin

Q: Letting go. In the process of being diagnosed with Lyme Disease, what things have you had to sacrifice and let go of? And how do you cope and adjust to this new way of life?

Aviva: I became chronically ill the summer of 2010, the year before I thought I’d leave home and go to college in California. I thought life would be so different. Not following my prescribed timeline was incredibly painful. Especially when we are young, each age has symbolism attached. When you’re 18, you’re an “adult.” Having to stay home when all my friends had the opportunity to become independent, go on adventures, and see the world was really difficult.

I just turned 22. This age has personal significance attached as well. If everything had gone according to plan, I would be graduating college this year. Becoming chronically ill dramatically shifted my timeline. But, I like to believe that this timeline is going to bring me more opportunity, joy, and fulfillment than if everything had gone according to plan.

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Gemma Fernandez

Q: Letting go. In the process of being diagnosed with Lyme Disease, what things have you had to sacrifice and let go of? And how do you cope and adjust to this new way of life?

Gemma: I’ve been ill for over three years but recently we discovered I’ve been dealing with Lyme disease all this time. I’ve had to sacrifice my study, my internship and my job. I was studying to become a veterinary technician (specialized in surgery), I was an intern at a Veterinary Clinic but due to my illness I have had to put that on pause. I’m not sure when I will be able to start. Due to Lyme I had to quite my part-time job, so you can imagine the stress that it brings. I try to life from day to day and not let the stress get to me. Just because it isn’t working out right now, doesn’t mean it will never work out, right?

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Hailey Allen

I am twenty years old, and in June of 2014 I was diagnosed with Chronic Late Stage Lyme Disease along with five other co-infections. Like many others struggling with this disease, it took me many years (six to be exact) to find out what was ailing me. Although many of my symptoms limited me in middle and high school, it wasn't until I started treatment that I reached my roughest patch yet.

It seemed as if my life had changed nearly over night; I spent most of my days in bed with crippling fatigue, migraines, GI troubles, and wide spread joint pain. Because of my worsening condition, I had to make the crushing decision (more like the decision was made for me by doctors) to remain at home to receive treatment instead of returning to school out east.

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