A Letter to the California Department of Public Health About Lyme Disease
I recently went to the California Department of Public Health to make my voice heard on the topic of Lyme disease. I realized quickly that my statement to the committee would be too off topic this year, but I still wanted my voice to me heard. Here is my letter to them:
My whole life I’ve mastered the ability to adapt. I started at the young age of 6 months old, when I received a traumatic brain injury. In 1981, the doctors kept me overnight, only by the insistence of my parents and then sent me home with no instructions. Luckily, my brain adapted. When I got older, my parents were told I wouldn’t surpass a second grade level. I adapted. I was severely bullied for being in resource rooms. I adapted. Studying the normal amount wasn’t working, so I studied twice as hard and adapted. I was easily over-stimulated and fatigued. I pushed through and adapted. Around 18, I started to get worse physically and mentally. I adapted. Every time I kept getting worse, I adapted. By 27 I could no longer adapt. Pushing through, working harder only made my body worse. It wasn’t until I was 29 that I was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease.
I hate Lyme disease. It took away what I felt made me special: my ability to adapt. Coming to this meeting today will mean I spend the next five days at home. What will you do after this meeting? Most likely, continue to work, work out, make your family dinner, hang out with friends, take a shower and brush your teeth before going to bed. By coming here today, I’ll do none of that except go home and not be able to move. This is what this horrible disease does to me.
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Photo by Benjamin Combs, via Unsplash