While promising Part 2 of my personal Lyme story, the disease took over. I am in aggressive antibiotic treatment and drugs #1, #2 and #3 were not problematic in any sort of incredibly memorable way. (Although their cost is enough to make me weep.)
Enter Drug #4. Whoa. All the classic signs of a herx showed up on Day 4 ... headache, chills, swollen glands, body aches, neuropathy, visual disturbances, the urge to vomit from my toes every 30 seconds, etc, etc, et al. One day I sobbed all day for no good reason and the next two I slept like a drugged person for the same reason. A real smorgasbord of symptoms. I hate to admit to this, but I was vaguely excited in that "DEATH TO SPIROCHETES" kinda way. For awhile. Like two weeks.
Ironically, I was online with a bunch of women who also have Lyme when the big one hit.
BOOM. Within a few minutes I was having breathing problems, unable to sit up, pretty much unable to move. My head went wild with the possibilities. No doubt my appendix were rupturing (wrong side.) I had an ectopic pregnancy (um, I'm 58 and had my tubes tied in 1989.) Gotta be an exploding ovarian cyst (yeah, highly unlikely at this stage of the game.) The ladies encouraged me to take both Vicodin and Ativan which I did seconds before I emailed my LLMD.
My LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) is amazing and literally returns emails in a triage fashion. Of course, I have one LLMD. Who knows how many patients my LLMD has (and offers the same support!) But, because I reread the email I sent later, I know said this, "This is Ruth. I think something is terribly wrong with my stomach and I'm in so much pain that I took a Vicodin AND an Ativan and I don't know what to do because I don't know what this is and I'm really really scared that I'm going to die soon."
I got a very calm email back stating something like, "Ruth, please always remember to tell me what meds you are on. If we are treating Bartonella (we are) and you have IC (I do) then the spirochetes are reacting to the meds and are attacking your bladder."
I wrote back, "YEAH but what do I DO!?!?"
"Read the treatment manual." Well, DUH. I'd liked to have asked myself, "WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT" but clearly, I was not thinking clearly. I was hurting. I thanked my LLMD for the time, the Vicodin kicked in, and by the next morning my bladder didn't hurt at all. I didn't even feel like I had been hit by a Mack truck. Only a minivan.
While I still have herx symptoms I am not literally and figuratively in the same place I've been in for the past few weeks. And I'm certainly not rolling around on my bed crying and gasping for air. Believe me when I tell you this, I am soooo thankful.
This experience has made me gain a new respect for "the herx" and its power. I've been a little cautious going out of the house alone because I really don't want to fall to the ground and scream in the grocery store. But doing life solo, this must be overcome. While I can deal with it if I don't have much food in the house, Larry has a tough time doing life sans cat food. And he has demonstrated before that he has the ability to make the lives of those who love him a living hell.
I have now laid in a supply of canned tuna (for me,) and both cat food and kitty litter for him ... should this ever happen again in this decade. My household supplies rival that of a diagnosed hoarder pre-Y2k. I Am Prepared. I mean, if anyone needs an extra five or six dozen rolls of toilet paper I'm your girl. But hands off my Epsom Salts and apple cider vinegar. I've got bugs to fry.