For those of you patiently following our family’s journey over the course of the last several months… thank you and BLESS you for ALL of the prayers, kindness, crisis interventions, sympathy, empathy, thoughts, concern, meals, cards, flowers, HELP in one way or the other, and so, SO much more!
Our family has been living a nightmarish hell, of sorts, since our eighth child and son, sweet little JJ, was born last June. Here’s a brief overview/chronology:
June 2016: DS Jeremiah Jonathon born. Healthy little red-haired boy despite having been told he had a high likelihood of having Down Syndrome.
August 2016: Not feeling well AT ALL postpartum. Now mind you, I have seven previous pregnancies and postpartums to compare it to. Start researching online. Come up with lupus but don’t have the rash. Come up with fibromyalgia. Figured I shouldn’t head in to see my doctor yet as baby is not sleeping through the night and she will likely tell me I’m crazy and need to start getting some sleep. Experiencing random burning and stabbing pains throughout my body.
September through December 2016: Continued exasperated weird migratory symptoms. Three sinus infections with antibiotic, augmentin. One UTI. A yeast mastitis. Another antibiotic, doxycycline, for a horribly painful rash only on right side of my face doctor diagnoses as perioral dermatitis. I now cannot put my elbows down on furniture when nursing my son. I’m now also wearing knee pads in my house in order to pick up toys, change diapers, and get laundry out of my front loaders. All bloodwork at my doctor’s office is normal, including thyroid labs.
December 2016: The horrible fatigue and hair loss sets in. I’m losing hair by the clumps. The brain fog and neurological symptoms start. The horrible headaches start. I am becoming increasingly irritated by noise and bright lights. Remember — I have eight kids under the age of fourteen, and my life is NOT noise OR stress-free.
My husband returns from a routine physical at the Mayo Clinic. They find a thyroid nodule on his right thyroid. It is biopsied, and it comes back as indeterminate. He decides to have a partial thyroidectomy because he wants it out.
Week before Christmas – – I wake up one morning and can hardly walk. Can’t sit down or drive or bend at of 45° angle. Severe compression/nerve pain in my lower back isolated to spot of epidural. Remember — I have eight children and drive a fifteen passenger van.
January 2017: REALLY not feeling well. Sleeping all the time. Struggling with putting together sentences in basic conversation and remembering short-term details. Rapidly start losing weight. Return to the Mayo Clinic with my husband for his pre-surgery consultation. Arrange overnight care for all eight of our children.
February 2017: The shit *officially* hits the fan. I return to see my doctor once again. FINALLY — labs start coming back indicating that there is a problem. My TSH is now near 6. I have an averse raction after 14 days on levothyroxine. Decide to schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist to continue seeking the deeper root of what is happening to my body.
March 2017: Husband has a partial thyroidectomy at the Mayo Clinic. We are praying it’s not cancer. Arrange childcare again and farm out all eight of our kids for another four days. PRAISE GOD the nodule is an adenoma, a benign tumor. However, my thyroid now starts swinging from hypothyroid to hyperthyroid with my thyroid TSH moving 3 to 4 points in a five day period — up and down. Both of my sisters fly in from out of town to live with our family for several weeks while I am experiencing a whole new array of symptoms with the hyperthyroidism such as anxiety, panic attacks, vertigo, insomnia, hot sweats, and just generally very manic and out of control symptoms (and subsequently cannot drive).
March 10, 2017: I have my long-awaited appointment with endocrinologist who diagnoses Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid disease as well as Lymes Disease through the Elisa antibody serum test. However, am told I “do not have active Lymes” since I test negative on the Western Blot.
I have now lost going on TWENTY pounds since Valentine’s Day. I now weigh as much as my fourteen-year-old daughter.
April 19: I have my first appointment out of town, four hour drive each way, with a LLMD. (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor). She is functional medicine/allopathic. She spent FOUR HOURS with me face-to-face going over nearly TWENTY YEARS of medical history which all started for me back in high school when I had EBV/mono. I leave her office that day with NINE different separate “initial” diagnosis of coinfections as well as giving another fifteen to twenty vials of blood.
May 22: A LOOOONG five-week wait between appointments with my LLMD after four months of being EXTREMELY sick and debilitated, eleven months of a hellish nightmare of a postpartum, in addition to nine months before that of an extremely difficult pregnancy with Down Syndrome scare. ALL lab results are in. Final diagnosis of: Lymes Disease (Borrelia Burgdorferia), Babesiosa Duncani (separate tick-borne coinfection), Bartonella Henselae (separate tick-borne coinfection) through IGeneX labwork… mycotoxin toxicity in the form of gliotoxins and tricothecenes (from a previous home we lived in where black mold was NOT disclosed to us prior to closing OR caught during inspection)… which is causing my Hashimoto’s… candida from MANY courses of antibiotics, adrenal insufficiency, severe gluten intolerance (further causing inflammation)… and several other coinfections YET. The three tick-borne illnesses being the BIG PLAYERS, simultaneously fooling my immune system, suppressing it, attacking healthy tissues, and basically creating a HUGE internal traffic jam in my body where nothing is working quite right.
I have decided in the next several weeks (as soon as things calm down a bit and my kids are out of school for the summer) to return to my blog which I started in 2013 during our brief move to Duluth and subsequent relocation back to Ohio.
Rest assured — my suffering WILL NOT BE in vain. It WILL BE redemptive, and it WILL bear much fruit for other people and families who are victims of this debilitating disease. I WILL have a voice, and I WILL let my voice be heard. My hope is to be an advocate for #lymesdisease and other #tickborneillnesses and #mycotoxintoxicity. I intend to raise awareness of treatment protocols through LLMD’s (Lyme Literate Medical Doctors) as well as prevention procedures. Prevention and early intervention are truly the best ways to fight this! If I can help even just ONE PERSON avoid the suffering I have endured, then going public with all of this will have been immeasurably worth it.
Jesus, we trust only in YOU. You are so much bigger than our fears and anxieties and the lies the world tells us (“you’re not sick,” “it’s all in your head,” “here’s another prescription,” “you’re just plain crazy.” You are bigger than chronic health issues. You are the beginning and the end. The Alpha and the Omega. You know our future during times of uncertainty, fear, doubt, despair, loss of hope, and even dark nights of the soul.
Jeremiah 29:11 — “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans for hope, and a future.”
Our 8th child and son, Jeremiah Jonathon, was named after this verse in the Bible. In the middle of a fearful and tumultuous pregnancy, we got down on our knees and continued to praise and serve a God we KNOW does not make mistakes.
A VERY SPECIAL thank you to all of my #lymie and #hashis friends who have walked a mile in my shoes and altered the course of my and my family’s future by sharing YOUR journeys with me! Each and every one of you has made a HUGE impact on my life and so subsequently on my family. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. ❤️❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻💚💚