On motherhood and Lyme |

I was a 28-year-old mom loving life.   It was 2009. My husband, Matt, and I had four kids in five years. Tyler was 5, Audrey 3, Connor 1 1/2 and Karis 8 months. I loved the challenge of it. I loved having them close together and I thought we would have another. Every day, my life was alive and living in the fast lane, ready, set go.  I loved being a mom more than anything in the world.

The surgeon reassured me it would be a simple surgery.
I was thankful because I didn’t have time to slow down.  I was homeschooling the two older children
and the two youngest were in diapers.

Immediately after my gum grafts, I had a series of
unexplained migraines followed by severe abdominal pain and debilitating
fatigue that shut my body down for days. 
We made several trips to the ER and a “tour” of doctor’s visits. We
began rounds of tests including MRI’s, CT scans, endoscopy’s, colonoscopy’s,
HIDA scans, blood tests, stool tests and more. Everything came back normal.
Each specialist put me on rounds of medication to try to control the symptoms
but there was no improvement.

The migraines continued. The abdominal pain stopped me in
my tracks. The fatigue made me feel like I was on constant sleeping pills. I
wanted to crawl into bed and sleep until it was all over. But I was a mom and
my kids needed me. Moms don’t get to crawl into bed. I learned during that time
that I was stronger than I ever knew, that I was more determined than I ever
realized and that I would always say, “I can.” The minute I started saying, “I
can’t,” it would be a downward spiral and I was going to be strong for my
babies. So, I pressed on. I got up every morning, fed them, taught them, bathed
them, took them to all their activities and continued as normal, in
excruciating pain.

This is not to say that I was not grieving because my
children were growing up with memories of their mommy who was mentally and
emotionally exhausted. This is not to say that I wasn’t worried that their
memories of me would be of me always being ill. There were days I would do
school with them from the bed or couch. As soon as my husband got home from
work I would curl up in bed. My grief was deep and I wanted my life back, the
life where I was healthy and full of zest and the life where I felt like I
could conquer the world.  But this made
me persevere even more. I was determined to find answers.

The symptoms continued but now I was also having flulike
symptoms. I felt sickly every day. Some days I could barely walk up the stairs
in my own house. All of my childhood allergies started coming back and I began
to react to chemicals, fragrances and foods. I had to radically change my diet.

I began to turn to alternative practitioners; I tried
NAET, chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, a functional medicine
doctor, and a compounding pharmacist that did consulting. I bought lots of supplements
hoping and praying I would get some relief. Still, no improvement

As more time passed, I was truly feeling like a failure to
my husband and children.  I wanted to feel
better because I was worn out, but mostly, I wanted to be better for my
family.  I constantly worried about my
two older children whom I was homeschooling and doubted our decision to
homeschool.  I questioned whether I
should put them in public or private school because often there were days that
we started school and I had to stop to nap because I was physically and
mentally unable to make my body function. Eventually I knew my children needed
more than I was able to give them. My husband and I decided to incorporate
homeschooling co-ops to fill the gaps, but many days I had to leave early to go
home to lay down. 

I began to get angry, yet I consistently reminded my kids that
even though Mommy was sick, God’s plan is always best.  I never wanted them to doubt God’s goodness, even
as I was struggling with my own faith and grief.

I reminded myself that God knows everything about me and
what my body was fighting on the inside was something He could fix. I just
didn’t not know if He would. Even when it seems as if God is not there or not
working or answering prayers He is and I knew I had to keep speaking the Truth
to myself and trusting Him.

After two years of pain
and sickness, in my search for answers, I finally found Dr. Z who is a
rheumatologist by trade but also specialized in Lyme disease and other
autoimmune diseases. Suspecting Lyme, she started me on Doxycycline right away.
She listened to my story and began treating me one to two times a week immediately
with IVs that were homeopathic and anti-bacterial/viral/fungal. They also
contained minerals and vitamins that my body desperately needed along with
pushes of glutathione.  Finally, I found the help that I needed. But
anyone with chronic late stage Lyme knows that there is no quick fix.

I worked with Dr.
Zackrison for 8 years and although it was slow going I finally got my life
back. Dr. Z not only treated me for Lyme Disease but also for
co-infections, candida, heavy metal toxicity, parasites and more. Through
proper research and diagnosis, she helped me to strengthened my body with
antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, herbs and homeopathies.  I also worked with a team of two neurologists
to get the migraines down to two per week (Dr. Aguilera in Fredericksburg VA
and Dr. Marmura at the Jefferson Headache Center in PA). This took a
combination of several oral medications as well as Botox and a monthly
injection called Aimovig. After 10 years, the migraines no longer keep me down
daily, even though there are specific triggers in my life that can cause one
instantaneously. Finally, another Lyme specialist, Dr. Fletcher, recommended by
Dr. Zackrison, was able to help me jump over the last hump of fatigue and
digestive distress with visceral release and ozone. Dr. Z now does ozone in her
office as well, because it was helping so many patients.

my ozone IV, the nurse put in the IV, extracted a full bag of blood, inserted
ozone, mixed it with my blood, and put the blood back into my
body. It’s amazing how dark, almost black my blood was until it was mixed with
the ozone and then it was a bright healthy red. I also want to mention here
that I had struggled with extreme bloating and constipation for years and was
dependent on colonics for many years. I continued sessions with Dr. Fletcher
for visceral release. My bowels started moving on their own. This was the first
time in years that I didn’t have to use the colonic/hydrotherapy device.
I felt like a normal person!!!

It was hard to recognize the progress at first because it
was so slow. Like I said, I worked with Dr. Z for 8 years, killing off Lyme and
coinfections as well as candida and parasites. I had to look back every year and
I could say “yes, I’m better than I was a
few years ago.”
I had to tell myself, it’s not much, but there is a little
progress.” Now I look back and think, “I don’t know how I lived every day with
a constant migraine.” I am so thankful that I am far beyond where I was ten
years ago.”

Now, ten years has past and I am able to celebrate.  We are able to travel and experience a family
vacation; something that was extremely hard for me in the past years. I
celebrate that I am functioning well enough to go back to work fulltime. Encouraged
that I could finally take on the endeavor, I have accepted a full-time position
and am able to fully work a forty-hour work week and finally enjoy summer with
my children.  Each day, I am gaining more
of my health back as I am getting stronger and feel like I am a functioning
adult again. My husband and children have helped me with the medical trials I
have faced and overcome.  Even when I feel
like I am still lagging, I can remember how far I have come and have the right
people to help me seek answers.

The best lesson I have learned through my journey is to be thankful for each healthy day with my family, my children and my friends.  I have learned never to give up and always keep moving forward. For my full story of overcoming Lyme Disease including all the treatments I tried, what worked what didn’t, all of the doctors I saw including both conventional and alternative, look for my book, Though the Mountains be Shaken at this link or on the Barnes and Noble website here.

Wishing you the best!

This is a guest post by Ariel Selwyn.

Do you want to share your story about your struggles with a chronic illness? Reach out to [email protected] and get your story posted on today

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