Hey, Dudes & Dudettes!
This Thursday was a prime example of how you should not judge a Lymie’s book by their cover. Someone who is walking, breathing, functioning, and seems pretty healthy, was lying in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV and heart monitor. That is right, this lady was rushed to the ER because her brain felt like it was vibrating in her skull. Her head, and hands were shaking uncontrollably. Her heart rate at a low 44 beats per minute and her body tensing up and going into convulsions. This was me, and it was scary. I felt like I had no control over my body, but it’s a part of what the disease brings to the table. It not only takes control over your mind but it also takes control over your body.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that you can look at someone with Lyme Disease and assume that everything in their life is fine. When really we are battling the most stubborn monsters of all. You might call us flakes, attention seekers, a bunch of fakers (Because who doesn’t love pretending you’re in a bunch of pain!), but while you’re sitting there judging us we yearn to live a normal life. To be healthy mentally and physically.
Here is a long list of symptoms that Lymie’s may suffer from. Educate yourself because one day you might know someone who ends up with this disease, and the last thing they want to hear you say is “You seem fine to me.” or “You don’t look sick to me”. Trust me…They don’t call this disease the great imitator for nothing.
Alright, here we go *Cracks Knuckles*
- Head, Face, Neck: • Headaches • Facial paralysis (“Bell’s palsy”) • Tingling sensations • Stiff neck • Sore throat, swollen glands • Heightened allergic sensitivities • Twitching of facial/other muscles • Jaw pain/stiffness (“TMJ”) • Change in smell or taste
- Eye, Vision: • Double or blurry vision • Sensitivity to light • Eye pain • Floaters
- Digestive/Excretory System: • Upset stomach (nausea, vomiting) • Abdominal pain • Irritable bladder • Unexplained weight loss or gain • Loss of appetite, anorexia
- Ears/Hearing: • Decreased hearing • Ringing or buzzing in ears • Sound sensitivity • Pain in ears
- Musculoskeletal System: • Joint pain, swelling, or stiffness • Shifting joint pains • Muscle pain or cramps • Poor muscle coördination, loss of reflexes • Loss of muscle tone, muscle weakness
- Respiratory/Circulatory Systems: • Difficulty breathing, air hunger • Night sweats or unexplained chills • Heart palpitations • Diminished exercise tolerance • Heart block, murmur • Chest pain or rib soreness
- Neurologic System: • Numbness in body, tingling, pinpricks • Burning/stabbing sensations in the body • Burning sensations in feet • Weakness or paralysis of limbs • Tremors or unexplained shaking • Seizures, stroke • Poor balance, difficulty walking • Increased motion sickness, wooziness • Lightheadedness, dizziness • Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) • Meningitis (inflammation of the protective membrane around the brain) • Encephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord) • Difficulty with multitasking • Difficulty with organization and planning • Word finding problems • Slowed speed of processing
- Psychiatric Symptoms: • Mood swings, irritability, agitation • Depression and anxiety • Malaise • Aggressive behavior/impulsiveness • Suicidal thoughts (rare cases of suicide) • Overemotional reactions, crying easily • Disturbed sleep: too much, too little, difficulty falling or staying asleep • Feeling as though you are losing your mind • Obsessive-compulsive behavior
- Cognitive Symptoms: • Forgetfulness, memory loss • Attention problems, distractibility • Confusion, difficulty thinking • Difficulty with concentration, reading, spelling • Disorientation: getting lost in familiar areas
- Females: • Unexplained menstrual pain, irregularity • Reproduction problems, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, neonatal • Extreme PMS symptoms • Pelvic pain
- Males: • Testicular or pelvic pain
- Skin Problems: • Erythema Migrans (rash)
- General Well-being: • Decreased interest in play (children) • Extreme fatigue • Unexplained fevers (high or low grade) • Flu-like symptoms (early in the illness) • Symptoms seem to change or come and go
- Other Organ Problems: • Dysfunction of the thyroid (under or over active) • Bladder & kidney problems (including bed wetting, urgency/frequency to urinate) • Newly developed beef or meat allergy (usually from Lone Star tick bites)
Everything on the list that you see in bold is symptoms I currently experience or have experienced. This is what I deal with on a daily basis. Every day for me is a constant battle. Whether it is physically or mentally. This is one of the reasons why people with Lyme or any invisible illness get so frustrated when people think they know what we are going through, or think it’s all in our head. We aren’t crazy people, and it’s important before opening your mouth that you research, or ask questions about Lyme Disease before making any assumptions or putting your two-sense in. Never judge a book by its cover, because you never know what someone is going through until you ask.
SIDE NOTE: I legit revised this post 10 times after I published it. Thanks, Lyme brain!