My Body Is My Partner Against Lyme Disease


My lab tests tell the story of a body in peril. My inflammatory markers are dangerously high, and my helper cells are very low. The MRI of my spine continues to alarm and perplex doctors. Nevertheless, here I am — upright and able to live a semi-normal life.  

My immune system been covertly fighting Lyme disease for more than two decades, and I only recently caught wind of the battle. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t been healthy this entire time. I’ve been on a slow decline for the last 10 years and my body finally cried uncle. I certainly didn’t do anything to help the fight. I ate more macaroni and cheese than I’m willing to admit, routinely talked myself out of working out and allowed stress to perpetually sit shotgun. Not only was my body fighting a smoldering infection, it was doing so without any ammunition.

Often people with chronic illness feel betrayed by our bodies — and rightfully so. Our mind continues to grasp at a normal life, telling us we should be exercising and waking up earlier, meanwhile our bodies are in an endless tug of war screaming out for rest and recovery. I find myself saying “if only” a lot. If only I wasn’t so tired. If only I didn’t have a headache. Blaming my body instead of Lyme for letting me down over and over again.

When I take a closer look, I see my body has come through for me every time. When the bacteria fueled itself off the iron in my red blood cells, my body shut down menstruation to keep me from becoming seriously anemic. When my adrenal glands became worn out from fighting the inflammation in my body, my thyroid gland kicked into overdrive to compensate. These were warning signs that my body was severely out of balance, but it did what it had to do to keep me functioning.

Even when we are drastically ill, our bodies fight with every weapon they have to keep us alive. Thanklessly, my body marches on giving Lyme disease everything it’s got. My helper cells seek out the elusive bacteria hiding under the invisibility cloak known as a biofilm and hunts down the bugs taking refuge in my joints. At the end of the day, my body rarely asks for anything. It asks for the occasional nap, nutrient-rich food and a nice warm bath. Otherwise, it shoulders the heavy burden, so I can live my life.

Sometimes my body needs weapons it doesn’t have on its own, such as the jab of an antibiotic or the uppercut of a supplement. My job is to do the best I can to supply it with the right ones. I give my body bullets of healthy food. I don’t suppress it with stress; I build it up with sleep and meditation. I try not to give the opposing army any advantages like sugar and yeast to feed on. Every day I get better at showing my body the respect it deserves.

At this point in my treatment, my pain is diminishing and my energy is starting to pick back up. As I write this, I just returned from a social gathering where I met new people and caught up with old friends. I used to come home from events like this and immediately crash. Today, I’m sitting here typing with a brain free of fog. On paper, I should be struggling to lift my head off the pillow, but now I’m able to work part-time, walk my dog and occasionally go out with friends. I still have a long way to go before I can declare victory, but I’m getting better every day.

When you feel betrayed by your body, remember it’s your partner in this microscopic battle royale. Long before you knew the war had begun, your body was there in the trenches. Even when it looked bleak, your body never, ever gave up the fight. My body is a warrior, and we will conquer this disease together.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Lead photo by Thinkstock Images


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Lyme Disease

abstract design elements with women face

Keeping Your Fighting Spirit in the Face of a Lyme Relapse

I thought I’d put it behind me. Not for good — I’ll always advocate for those with Lyme disease and do whatever I can to spread awareness and education — but I thought I’d moved on, that it was a thing of the past, that it was something I could say I survived and now [...]
silhouette of sad woman with city skyline in background

The Connection Between Depression and Chronic Illness We Need to Talk About

Depression. With any invisible disease, chronic disease and autoimmune diseases, doctors tell you that you will have bouts of depression. I have seen my husband (who has type 1 diabetes) have it now and then. But for some people I know it is longer. Depression exists… just maybe not in the way we see it. It [...]
woman looking at the woods during winter

When I Decided Not to Share the Holidays With My Lyme Disease

My dad and I sat on black and silver chairs in a tiny brick house 200 miles away from home and listened to my doctor discuss adding a natural supplement to my standard Lyme disease treatment. I watched as he drew sketches on his clipboard to show how the supplement breaks through the biofilm that the bacteria [...]
man lifts woman off her feet

What Inspired Me to Donate Holiday Gifts to Kids in the Hospital

The road to my Lyme disease diagnosis has been anything but easy for me. I’ve been doubted by doctors for years. They would say I was stressed or depressed and tell me I was making it up for attention. I often see commercials about children’s hospitals that show how amazing they are. However, my experiences were much different. In [...]