Our Lyme Disease Story

Am I Dying? Daydreaming about a Diagnosis

During the years I battled undiagnosed Lyme disease, I often daydreamed about a diagnosis. Since my doctor had told me he didn’t think I had Lyme disease, I sometimes wondered if I might have cancer.

If I was diagnosed with something serious like that, I figured, I could finally rest. People would understand if I couldn’t attend events, keep my house spotless, or finish my next book as soon as they—or I—would like.

Of course, after a moment or two, I would reject that longing. Getting a diagnosis of a life-threatening disease would also come with collateral damage.  My husband might lose his wife. My parents might lose their daughter. And, perhaps most heart-wrenching of all, my daughters might lose their mother.

little girl after her first ballet class
Beanie after her first ballet class in September 2018.

The mere thought of our youngest, who’s very attached to me, losing her mommy stopped my fantasy at once.

But after our tenth anniversary trip to New York in June 2018, my health continued to decline. 

Burned Out at the Beach

That July, my daughters and I spent two days at the beach with my aunt, my grandmother, my cousin, and her kids.

My cousin Jenn is more like a sister. Only months apart in age, we grew up together, because she lived next door, and my mom often babysat her. But now she lives in Pennsylvania and my Aunt Lynn in Florida, so I don’t get to see them often. 

Christy Brunke and Jennifer Culp at Christy's wedding
Me and Jenn at my wedding on June 1, 2008.

Though it’s always lovely to spend time with them, that trip I was beat and not feeling myself. At the time, I chalked up my fatigue to a lot of packing and traveling solo with little ones over a short period of time.

Since I rarely get to see Jenn and Aunt Lynn, I tried to rise to the occasion. But, again, I felt like a puppet just dragging myself through the day. 

Another Misdiagnosis

By August, I realized I was having recurring low-grade fevers. During those times when my temperature was elevated, I would also feel exhausted. Yet my fevers were low (just up to 100 degrees) and some doctors wouldn’t even consider them fevers. 

Lyme Disease Diagnosis "What temperature constitutes a fever?"
Image courtesy of AskDrSears.com.
Am I Dying? Daydreaming about a Diagnosis
Celebrating Michaela’s birthday with a pirate cruise on August 28, 2018.

I thought the low-grade fevers were odd, annoying, and inconvenient, but I didn’t pay much attention to them. Then the headaches and unexplained pain in my teeth started. 

On August 28, 2018, I finally went to an immediate care clinic. The nurse practitioner prescribed ten days of Amoxicillin for a sinus infection. But the diagnosis was a bit puzzling. After all, the pain in my teeth wasn’t in my upper teeth—as is usual in sinusitis—but in my lower ones. 

Even so, on the antibiotics, I felt better. My pain disappeared, and I only had low-grade fevers twice. But two days after my last dose of Amoxicillin, a host of other symptoms began to appear.

Meanwhile, another member of our family was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Click here to continue reading our story!

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