Stage 3

Monday, June 30, 2008

On Saturday, I asked Pete where my cane was.

I've known for several months that I have Stage 3 lyme disease. In the months before Piper was conceived and throughout most of my pregnancy, I was symptom-free. I felt wonderful. My naturopath helped me balance out my hormones so my body could fight the lyme, and I had regained almost full functionality.

In the months following Piper's birth, however, my condition deteriorated. The lyme attacked my pituitary gland, and my already-crazy after-pregnancy hormones went berserk and threw me into postpartum depression. Because Piper was still too young to wean, I started some treatment that wouldn't negatively impact her, but it hasn't been enough to slow the downward spiral.

In the last few months, I've been experiencing the arthritic pain and stiffness that had me on Motrin every day a few years ago. Over the last several weeks, the convulsions and weakness have returned.

I feel trapped. I'm almost in shock over the fact that my improvement wasn't permanent. I knew that the bacteria simply burrow into the tissue of the cell wall when the disease is attacked, that I would probably always carry it. But having my functionality stripped from me again wasn't something I expected or planned for. My life was starting again. I could make goals and accomplish things. I was actually beginning to live some of my dreams.

Sure, I had to be careful. I needed to make sure I got enough rest. I needed to take my pills every day. I needed to eat well. I needed to keep my stress levels down. If any one of those factors was out of place, all the others would be affected.

With Piper nursing, I haven't slept more than 5 hours at a stretch for the last year and a half. With two moves, the impact of the depression and increasing symptoms, Pete's inevitable search for a new job once he passed the Bar, and Piper's constant demand, I have lost a lot of ground. Stress that would be easily handled if I was healthy is magnified until I have to internalize everything or self-destruct.

I can't treat the lyme more aggressively because of the inevitable Herxheimer reaction that will occur and our inability to provide for Piper's care. (Herxheimer reaction = the disease gets worse before it gets better because the bacteria emit a toxin when they are attacked) I can't risk a worsening of my psychological symptoms, and any further pain or neurological symptoms will leave me bedridden.

I write to keep myself sane, to feel as though I have some normalcy in my life as I've been walking this tightrope to keep myself functional enough to care for Piper.

Our plan of action is not a plan at this point. We either need a job for Pete that will pay enough for us to pay someone to care for Piper during the day while he is at work, or we need a job that is close enough to one of our families for us to have the support we need. California (where Pete is licensed) is so far, and offers us very little in the way of a support system.

So at the moment, I reach for my cane and my sanity and pray that God will provide... soon.


nic said...

I'm sorry to hear that your health has been so bad! I don't know how it is you do all you do while feeling like that!

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