Brain fog. Yep, I had that. It felt like “pregnancy brain,” only way worse. Sometimes it was embarrassing. I was so dingy! Sometimes it was frustrating. I couldn’t read anything. By the time I finished a page, I’d have to start over because I already forgot what I read. And sometimes it was dangerous. I remember driving once, doing about 50 MPH, and there were red lights on the car in front of me. Now, I knew the red lights meant something, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what they meant! Luckily I remembered just in time to hit the brakes and avoid what could have been very, very bad.
Heart palpitations. My heart would race any time I was at rest. It was the worst when I laid down for bed at night. It was like I had just run a marathon while being chased by a rabid tiger riding a grizzly bear. My doctor gave me something. I have no idea what it was. Hell, I didn’t even ask what it was. That’s how trusting of doctors I used to be. It was a “sample bottle” he had in his office and he told me to take half of one when I needed it, so I did. It helped sometimes. Sometimes it didn’t. Maybe it never did. I have no idea.
Reynaud’s syndrome. Basically, my hands and feet would randomly get very cold and/or turn blueish. Sometimes they would tingle, sometimes they’d be numb.
Sleep problems. I had trouble sleeping, I was tired all the time. All the time.
Weight loss. My home nurse told me that weight seems to go either way with Lyme, but usually doesn’t stay the same. Some would say weight loss without working for it is a good thing. And I felt that way too, at first. But it just kept going. And I still wasn’t trying. I ate the same things as always. I certainly didn’t have the energy to exercise or be more active. If anything, I was much less active, but the weight kept coming off. Not like chemotherapy coming off, but noticeably dropping pounds 1 or 2 at a time for the duration so it was concerning.
Depression. Well, yeah. But I can’t say whether it was a symptom of the Lyme or a symptom of the symptoms of Lyme. I was in pain, constantly. I wasn’t sleeping well and was always tired. I didn’t really understand what was going on with my body and I had no idea how long I was going to feel like crap, Every. Single. Day. Most of the time I felt like I was going crazy (another fun side effect of Lyme). So depression, whatever the underlying cause, was pretty much guaranteed.
Going crazy? This was another one that I couldn’t quite pinpoint the cause, or, worse, I didn’t know if I was actually going crazy or not, which made me feel even crazier. My body felt things that I couldn’t explain, but most day, on the outside, I seemed fine to everyone else. I had no casts or limps. I had no gaping wounds. My skin tone was normal. My hair wasn’t falling out. I looked normal. But I most certainly did not feel it. Add the constant fatigue, the brain fog, and the helplessness of it all, and going crazy doesn’t sound, well, crazy.
To add insult to injury, the CDC does not consider chronic Lyme disease to be a thing. My doctor had to keep negotiating with my insurance company for my ongoing treatment, because they didn’t consider it a thing. There were forums and chat groups I read which went on and on about most doctors not considering it a thing. So is chronic Lyme disease actually a thing? I’ve thought about it over and over and over again. I’ve gone over studies and reports, both from the science and medical field and from people’s personal accounts. And I honestly don’t know. Is it a thing? Is it a combination of things? Is it an infection which exacerbates the symptoms of an already unhealthy lifestyle? Is it a fiendish disease which tortures every system in the human body and never, ever goes away?
I still don’t know.