Yes. My husband has Lyme. No, that doesn’t just mean we have bad luck. And yes, it is real. No, I’m not suffering from Munchaussen by Proxy.
And I’d give anything to have this not be true.
So, last year, my husband ended up in the Urgent Care with Bradycardia (low heart rate) and a skipped beat. My in-laws told him that heart stuff runs in the family and not to worry. The Lyme friendly Cardiologist said that he ought to get a Lyme Test, because what was happened to him was suggestive of Lyme.
Here’s where I want the do-over. If I could turn back time, I would have gotten rid of the dog, sold the house, and moved into a tiny apartment that we could manage financially, and in terms of yard work, etc.
Then, we would have reached out to our community, joined a church, gotten born again — anything to take some of the stress off of him while the rest of us treated.
Instead, he juggled 5 jobs. Watched the economy suck the life out of some of the income. We juggled medical expenses, house payments, neighbor anger over the yard looking like hell, fear, anger, sick kids — the kind of things that you can’t escape.
And now, he is as run down as the rest of us, has an infection in his heart, and is the proud owner of a slew of angry bacteria and parasites: Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia and Lyme.
So, how does it happen that everyone in a household can have Lyme and all the wicked co-infections?
Most people understand that many infections can cross the placenta. And, when most people learn that the Lyme Spirochete is similar in structure to the Syphillis Spirochete, it makes sense. But no one wants sexual transmission to be a player in this.
Just like I believe that everyone who gets vaccinated will end up with damage to their body, I don’t think that everyone can easily contract tick borne illnesses through sexual contact.
I believe that the terrain of your body needs to be rough and stretched and overwhelmed in order for that to happen.
And, it could be, that all those years spending weekends and summers on the land where his parent’s retirement home sits, gave him a bite or two, or more. Sometimes it takes a car accident or a robbery, or a great loss to trigger Lyme. It doesn’t always “get” you in the first few weeks after the bite. Sometimes it just takes the stress of a sick family to drag you under.
I don’t think we are unlucky. I think we are common. Illness causes emotional stress. Financial Stress. School Stress. Work Stress. The fact that my parents are dead, and my siblings are either busy with their own grandkids, sick themselves or busy with their lives, doesn’t help. Illness causes friendshifts, a fact that I’ve bemoaned in many other posts. Not a whole lot of community involvement fits into your schedule when you are chronically ill. Potential support system or friendships have lapsed because we are “all Lyme all the time”. There are so many factors that cause stress.
I don’t even want to think of what the future holds. I am having the worst Babesia herx I’ve ever had. When I leave the house, my air hunger (loud, deep, gasps for air) is frightening. My kids are used to it, one even does it himself. The rest of the world? Not so much. So, I only go out when I need to. And, soon, I will likely be grocery shopping online, instead of visiting my neighborhood co-op.
Today, my husband had rehearsal for an upcoming show, and then he had to go to work at one of those other jobs. He looked exhausted. Broken. Tired. I’m scared. I just don’t know what the future holds.
So, what do we do? Sell the house? Move in with his parents up north in the Tick Belt? Start participating in extreme sports until one of those dangers takes us away?
I don’t know what the answer is. I just know that I can no longer rely on my husband to pick up my slack, like I used to. When our son needs to be at a church a few miles away at 7:20 am, I get up. My body doesn’t want me to, but I do it. I didn’t used to. I let him do it. I let myself be sick. I let myself take time to rest and heal. That doesn’t exist anymore.
I would imagine, we will dance back and forth like I do with the children, hoping that we don’t all herx on the same day. We will check in with each other every day and see who needs the most help, who has the most brain power, energy, and strength. We will continue to welcome any offers of help. And visits. And phone calls. And rides.
We need to make some choices. Or a draw in a miracle. I might even try to build a Time Machine.
I know we aren’t the only ones with troubles. Everyone’s got their things. I just wish our thing didn’t involve all of us. One sick kid, I could maybe handle. Sick husband? No problem. Sick me? Sucks. They all suck. But combined? I’m just tired.