On October 26, 2015, my one-year-old climbed 168 steps to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Little did I know I was also beginning an arduous climb.
The day after our hike, I got sick. At the time, I thought I had the stomach flu. I’ve since learned tick secretions can cause “nausea and a general sick feeling.” According to Harvard Medical School, “These symptoms usually go away within 24 to 36 hours after the tick is removed.”
The following day, I started to feel better. Unfortunately, my long-term illness had barely begun. A pathogen inside the tick would introduce me to a disease with symptoms that could last a lifetime.
Two weeks to the day after Sugarloaf, I wrote, “Today I was exhausted and not feeling well…”
Stage one symptoms of Lyme disease appear between three to thirty days after the tick bite. Usually, though, they begin one to two weeks afterward. That timing matches the onset of my symptoms perfectly.
This flu-like illness can include chills, fatigue, fever, headaches, malaise, and sore throat. Some people get the distinct sign of a bull’s-eye rash or another kind of round or oval rash. Unfortunately, though, it may show up in a hard-to-see place like the scalp or underwear area.
Stage two symptoms of Lyme disease can appear days, weeks, or months after the tick bite. Usually, though, they begin one to four months afterward.
At this stage, 8.2 percent of people get Bell’s palsy. (Bell’s palsy is a “sudden weakness in the muscles on one half of the face.”) Others faint or have heart palpitations. My dad had the clear sign of multiplying rashes. Some, though, just experience vaguer symptoms like extreme fatigue and lack of energy.
Two months after Sugarloaf, I wrote in my Mom’s One Line a Day memory book that I wasn’t feeling well. In my prayer journal, I wrote, “Father, please restore my strength and health. Give me the time, strength, and energy that I need to get everything done that you want me to today. Thank you that Mark will be home early today, because I can’t do another late day.”
The following day, I wrote, “I still feel completely worn out. Please breathe life, strength, joy, and encouragement into my mind, soul, and body today.”
If I’m right about my infection date, I battled Lyme disease for three years before I was diagnosed. Why did it take me so long to realize what was happening? Perhaps because, even as one of my fears was being realized, a long-held dream was coming true. Click here to read “A Fear Realized, a Dream Come True.”