Our Family's Lyme Disease Story

Bad Buddies in the Big Apple

What’s better than being with two of your favorite people in one of the most fascinating cities in the world?

For Labor Day weekend 2017, I met two dear friends from Chicago in New York. We went shopping, saw a Broadway show, and visited Madam Tussauds wax museum. I hadn’t seen Nancy and Angela much since moving to Maryland, but I always loved spending time with them.

Nancy Holec, Angela Canton, and Christy Brunke
Me with Nancy (left), Angela (center), and my daughter Angelina in 2014.

But my constant companions also joined us for the journey: Fatigue. Hoarseness. Insomnia. Muscle Pain. Cold Intolerance.

Recently, my hair stylist had also told me that my hair was falling out.

By that time, I was starting to wonder if I might have hypothyroidism. After all, my dad had it, and I knew an underactive thyroid could cause some of my symptoms.

Nancy urged me to make a doctor’s appointment. But there was one problem. Since my husband, daughters, and I had moved to Maryland, I hadn’t found a new primary care doctor.

During the twelve years I’d lived in Illinois, I only saw my PCP once and never went to an immediate care clinic. When I was pregnant, I saw an OBGYN, and when I traveled overseas, I got vaccines. Sometimes I got colds, but, besides that, I was healthy. 

Christy Brunke in the People's Republic of China
Me in China in 2007.

Since getting infected with Borrelia burgdorferi—the bacteria that causes Lyme disease—I’ve become a regular at LabCorp, doctor’s offices, and Minute Clinics

But let me get back to my story.

Between making that September 2017 appointment and seeing the doctor, I started suspecting the truth.

We lived in a Lyme-endemic area, and my fatigue had become chronic and debilitating. The extreme nature of my exhaustion seemed to fit what I’d heard about Lyme disease. Plus, I knew hair loss and muscle pain were also associated with Borrelia burgdorferi. 

But that doctor’s visit wouldn’t lead to the cure I was hoping for. Click here to read “Misdiagnosed and Feeling Like a Hypochondriac.”

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