Lyme and Migraine? Challenge: Accepted.
My doctor said it as matter of factly as you might say the sky is blue; “you have lyme disease”. In that moment, disbelief washed over me, as my brain scrambled to try and situate this new information into the delicate context and reality of what coping and living with chronic migraine has entailed for the past five years.
Lyme disease. Chronic migraine. Chronic illness. Symptom. Inflammation. Diagnosis. Treatment. Illness. Wellness. SO MANY things rushed through my head as my doctor kept talking. In retrospect, I probably could have benefitted from an “appointment intermission”, twenty minutes minimum to let my brain play catch up and prepare for the remainder of our conversation. Instead, I distantly absorbed the rest of the information my doctor was going over while my brain filled and overflowed with thoughts and questions…
I kept wanting to ask, “are you sure?” (and I since have, multiple times), because it just didn’t seem like chronic migraine and chronic lyme disease could fit together. Surely I would have heard about these two things talked about more? Or maybe not? What does this mean about my diagnosis of chronic migraine? Did lyme disease kickstart a genetic predisposition to migraine and send me into a chronic state? How long has lyme disease been weakening my immune system? Lyme bacteria can cross the blood brain barrier?! Will working to heal from lyme improve my migraine situation? Should I be hopeful? How hopeful? How related are these two things?
That’s a snapshot of about two seconds in my head right after hearing my lyme test results (and other results revealing low thyroid, multiple hormone imbalances, genetic mutations, yeast overgrowth, several viral infections and very delicate gut health…no shocker on that last one though, I can tell you from living every day with this temperamental tummy that the GI region is not happy). The idea that lyme might be the common thread between so many of my symptoms; and could have been inhabiting my body, blood, organs and brain for years is and was overwhelming. Writing this, 48 hours later, I still sit full of questions; slightly confused, slightly validated, slightly hopeful and slightly afraid. Where is the line between chronic migraine and lyme disease? Are these communities supportive of one another? What came first? Is one a mask for another? Is this even possible?
In this place of uncertainty, so very full of questions, I’m seeking hope and my comfort where I have learned to find it most reliably; in trusting. Trusting that answers are coming to me after waiting for so long. That this incredibly thorough, wide scope testing will help to put some of the pieces of this puzzle together. That failing treatment after treatment, worsening symptoms, working with countless specialists and going through so many procedures and protocols was all part of leading me here. To get me to this place; with this new information and a doctor with the knowledge, expertise and desire to help me heal and move toward wellness.
Will this be my turning point? Where I start to actually heal on a physical level (not just emotional) and really begin to feel better? To be able to live and engage more with life again? I hope so. I’ve known on an intuitive level for a while that all of my hard work every single day is getting me closer to that state; even when I can’t see it. I’ve believed for a long time that I can and will get better control of my health; I just haven’t known how or when. What I have known is that I will continue to take the next best step, one step at a time, until I get there.
So maybe this is the beginning of the “how”, maybe this is the “when”. Maybe it is happening right now as I type and wonder and assimilate new information; assembling yet another game plan for treatment. Or maybe it’s not. But either way I choose to hope, to believe that all is happening as it is supposed to and that if I follow my intuition I’ll end up where I am meant to be.
To everyone else walking a winding healing path: I see you. I know how hard it is. I know how elusive hope can be. But it is there when we are ready to look for it, always. Hopeful in sharing this next chapter with you and diving into detective work on the link between lyme and migraine.
P.S. For those who are interested, I worked remotely with Dr. Erica Lehman (you can find her info here). She was and is fantastic, empathetic and incredibly thorough.