Living with Lyme Disease

I always thought I would wait to share my story until I had completed this journey. But perhaps there is some healing and encouragement that can come from sharing where I am right now, right in the middle of this messy healing journey.

On January 31, 2010, my mom and I were in a serious car accident. We were t-boned on Hwy 311. Our vehicle rolled multiple times and we landed on the roof of our van. I remember screaming, “Jesus help us!” I remember someone ripping the back window off of our van so we could get out. I was in a panic, seeing the man who had hit us stand in the distance and just stare at us.

We were brought to the hospital, where I remember my harsh doctor asking a traumatized fifteen-year-old me why I was crying? Why I was scared? I remember my sister gently pulling the hair back from my face and my aunt coming and helping me relieve myself, all while being strapped to the body board for hours.

Miraculously, my mom and I didn’t have any major injuries. We both had severe whiplash, jammed knees, and I had a concussion. The pain that followed was horrible! I remember one evening my dad held me in his arms and we both sobbed because of the pain and trauma I was experiencing.

One of the lasting symptoms I experience from the car accident is headaches. In fact, I haven’t been without one since that day in January. I would miss weeks of school and work at a time, because my migraines lasted so long. Doctors began to really question me and didn’t want to give me the drugs I needed to calm down the pain. I saw so many doctors and specialists but got no answers.

In the years to follow, I also experienced many strange, unexplained illnesses that led to countless ER visits. I had mono numerous times, a severe chest infection, and many other illnesses that we never got answers for. On more than one occasion, I had bad leg pain. My legs were covered with bruises and I couldn’t walk. During one of these times, my brother was home from work because of a hockey injury and he would carry me out of bed each morning.

When I was 18, I had to take a long leave from my job to try and get a handle on the headaches. We started treatment for temporomandibular disorder, or TMJ. TMJ occurs when there’s a dysfunction in the jaw joint/disc. For me, it causes a lot of pain in my jaw and a very restricted opening. The treatment lessened my migraines, but I still had the constant headaches. This was followed by another bout of mono, and shortly after I was fired from my job.

Somehow during this mess, I met the man of my dreams. We got married a couple of weeks after loosing my job. My wedding day was perfect. My headache that day was minor, which was an answer to our prayers!

Six months after getting married I was diagnosed with endometriosis. As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mommy, so this was a blow, since endometriosis can cause infertility. This was the first time I experienced severe depression. The medication my doctor put me on had horrible side effects and made the depression worse. My husband would often find me curled up in bed crying. We decided to go off of the medication and try to conceive. Three months later I was pregnant! We were overjoyed! It was a hard and stressful pregnancy, but my little guy hung on until 39 weeks. He was perfect!

Shortly after Ryker was born, I started to get sicker. I was experiencing strange symptoms like severe muscle and joint pain, dizziness, weakness, eye problems, exhaustion, brain fog, anxiety, and depression. By the time he was a year-and-a-half, I couldn’t be on my own with him. I often woke up, unable to walk. We spent many nights at my parents, so that my husband could keep working.

We started to fight for answers again, going to many different doctors. One doctor looked at me and said that just because I had these symptoms didn’t mean I was sick, it was probably just anxiety. They did lots of testing, but everything came back good. The doctor mentioned a Lyme disease test, but she admitted it would come back negative because the testing in Canada is so inaccurate. Medical doctors had no answers for me, so we worked harder with my naturopath.

In August of 2017 we were surprised to find out I was pregnant! This was not in our plans, but I know now that it most definitely was God’s plan. Looking back, this would have been my last chance to get pregnant for a very long time.

A couple of weeks after my positive pregnancy test, I got my diagnosis. Lyme disease. My naturopath had sent a test in to California, and it was positive. I was relieved to have a diagnosis, but this was not good news. We realized now that all of my health issues until this point had been Lyme disease symptoms. The trauma from the car accident is what activated the disease in my body.

We started a type of ozone treatment right away. I got very sick with treatment. When bacteria die, sometimes people experience what is called a herxheimer reaction. I got it bad! After treatments, I spent days unable to walk. All of my symptoms were even more severe. I was so sick, and so depressed.

As you can imagine, it was a hard pregnancy because of the Lyme disease and going through treatment. My precious Ryker would often “help” me along with my husband or my mom to the washroom. He would hobble, copying me, while holding my hand. He would often bring blankets to me while I lay on the couch.

Woodson was born in March of 2018. After he was born, they amped up my treatment. Surprisingly, as the treatments got stronger, I seemed to herx less. This was good, but I was still making no improvements. I was still so sick, depressed, and in so much pain. My kids were the only thing that kept me going. I remember lying in bed, and literally feeling as though I was going to die. If I hadn’t had my kids to give me purpose, I’m not sure if I would be here today.

One of the most difficult things through this time was that I had so many people that were once close to me basically disappear from my life. I had very few people who showed any ounce of care or concern. I was so lonely. Some close to me even said that my test had been fake, it was all in my head, and I needed emotional help.

In fall of 2018, I was at my absolute worst. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t lift my kids. My mom would hold my baby up to my breast so that he could nurse. I had constant, excruciating pain. I needed my food cut up for me, my water poured, I could do practically nothing for myself. We were living at my parents now, because I couldn’t ever be on my own, and I wouldn’t have made it up the stairs in our house.

My Naturopaths in Winnipeg were amazing and did everything they possibly could to help me. I am forever grateful for them. They had a lot of success with this treatment, just not with me. We decided it was time to try something different. We made the very expensive decision to travel to the Biologix Center in the United States. We had heard and read of their great success in treating chronic Lyme, along with other chronic illnesses.

The Biologix Center is an amazing place! The environment there is so positive and healing. My doctor there is so kind, understanding, and knowledgeable. He was able to test and see exactly what was going on in my body, and what was needed to help my body recover. My first round of treatment there was two weeks. Within the first two weeks, I already noticed an improvement in my symptoms. I was sent home with a protocol to follow, which I followed very diligently. I continued to make improvements. I returned five months later for a follow up. My tests all showed huge improvements, and I was feeling so much better!

Two months after being home from my second trip, Ryker got a severe oral infection. He was incredibly sick, and the stress from that made me crash hard. A lot of my symptoms worsened again, so I returned in July for another week of treatment. This time things were a bit harder for me. For the next six weeks I struggled to get back on track and was feeling really sick. Then, slowly, I started to improve again, and was able to start exercising for the first time in years! I started to catch a lot of viruses, but even with often being sick with a virus, my Lyme symptoms continued to stay way less.

As of now, I can say that almost all of my Lyme symptoms are either way less, or completely gone! My emotional health fluctuates along with how I am feeling physically. I still experience depression and anxiety, especially when I’m not feeling as well. I am still struggling badly with my headaches, and when we started treatment back in October, my jaw issues became more severe.

One theory is that perhaps when the Lyme bacteria started dying off, they tried to hide and went into my jaw, causing damage there. Often I could only open my jaw about a fingers width, with bad pain.

Since October we have been seeking out all kinds of treatment to try and heal my jaw, never really getting help. At the beginning of January this year, I had a tongue tie surgery. A tongue tie is something that can affect the jaw, so we figured it was worth a try. I ended up having a seizure following this procedure and am still healing from the surgery and the seizure as I write this.

The improvements I have been making have been incredible and I know I am finally on the right track! This past year I have finally been able to start playing with my kids again, to run around and dance with them, cook meals for my family, clean my house, all things I couldn’t have done just over a year ago.

I still have a journey ahead of me, and unfortunately this treatment is very expensive, but we have no other choice but to continue. In order to make a full recovery I need to continue going for check ups, and have my protocol and supplements updated based on how I am doing. I am scheduled to return to the clinic at the end of January, and I am so excited to see the progress I have made, but am also concerned about how we will pay for the treatment.

Even so, God has been faithful to me. This journey has been so incredibly long and hard, but I can see now that He has remained by my side and led us to the Biologix Center where we have finally been able to receive proper help for all of my health issues. I am so thankful for my doctor, who truly cares and does whatever he can to help me. I am thankful for my parents, who have always been there for us, and have done so much for our boys. Also for my husband, who, when I was at my sickest, did most of the household duties along with a full time job and caring for me and our boys. And of course for my precious kids, who gave me a reason to get up in the mornings, a reason to smile, and a reason to keep living!

Maybe someday I’ll find out God’s reason for this journey. As of now I’m clueless and struggle with how He could let me go through all of this. I will keep fighting this battle, keep trusting God to be with me, and someday, I will conquer this awful disease, with God’s help.

Editor's Note: This story is about Chantel's journey and not meant to start a debate of modern vs natural medicine.

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