Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When Borrelia burgdorferi knocks on the door of your immune system

Susanne's Story Part I

Although I don’t know exactly when Borrelia burgdorferi knocked on the door of my immune system I suspect it was around the time that I became violently ill with giardia after spending some time in the backcountry of Idaho with my parents and little sis.

For most people backcountry sounds like a quaint little cabin in the woods with a road leading up to it. Well that’s not exactly what it was. We spent about ten days on horseback exploring the mountains behind our already remotely located ranch along the banks of the wild and scenic Salmon River dubbed “The River of No Return." We saw no one for the entire duration of the journey.

At the time, I was a teenager. This particular adventure stands out in my memory as a moment of peaceful quiet serenity juxtaposed against the backdrop of the tumultuous difficulties of high school life and pretentious relationships. The adventure into the backcountry is a precious memory of time standing still and immense beauty beckoning my soul. Then along came giardia, weeks of throwing up and diarrhea followed by allergies, fatigue, weakness, depression, catching every bug that came by, and so on.

I finished high school and managed to be accepted to my top choice college. College came and went and remains a bright spot in my memory of carefree days of studying at the beach (yes I actually trained myself to block out the distractions so I could maximize my time at the beach and still get the grades I wanted) and authentic friendships with fellow sojourners. But the bright days were mixed with long episodes in bed recovering from the bug that took everyone else a few days to recover from and typically dizziness and vertigo, all unexplained and mysterious.

Post college I met the love of my life, we married and not according to plan immediately starting having babies. Two incredible little blessings came within two years of each other. A car accident while 7 months pregnant with the second left me unable to lift my daughter from her crib when she was born, my son, then two had an incredible responsibility of being the delivery boy, picking up what I could not (not the baby of course, somehow I must have managed it with excruciating pain and weakness).

I’ve spent the past 15 years with varying degrees of intense and chronic low back pain with little explanation as to why, no diagnosis really. A gazillion doctors, a gazillion physical therapists, several chiropractors, cortisone injections, etc. etc. etc. Then all the vestiges of youth left my feeble body when a third pregnancy, seven years after the last did me in.

After 7 months of excruciating pain, inability to stand or sit, an incredible gift was born. My youngest turned out to be sort of a mini-me even though a boy. I have learned more about myself with this little mirror walking around my house. He is showing me how to reclaim a child like joy for the simple and small things in life, to revel in the surprisingly good. Yes he has his incredible lows for the small disappointments in life, and watching him has taught me to own and laugh at my own response to life not going according to my plan.

Coming soon: Part II, Diagnosis.

Susanne, Kim's sister, is our latest SpiroChick. She also blogs at Adventures of a Soap Artist.


Kim said...

Thanks for sharing your story, sis. I think I got it on the same trip:(

Alix said...

Susanne, welcome to SpiroChicks and thank you for sharing your story! I think a horror flick with River of No Return would be a box office smash. You have a great sister in Kim, as you know, and it's great to have buddies to go through this with. That is an amazing gift you have in your mini-me son. Most people would not recognize it and be able to make it into a positive like you have.

Kim said...

Welcome, Susanne! Thank you so much for sharing your story and looking forward to additional posts!

Susanne Schlador said...

Thanks all for the warm welcome!