To be or not to be? Lyme disease

Ticks spread lyme disease

Adult deer tick. Image source: Wikipedia.

It’s such a small insect – ticks. How could one ever imagine that a single little bite from one of these guys, can kill a person?

A year ago, I was admitted to hospital, thinking I had a back problem. A few months later the pain spread around my body, to every single joint. January and February this year I was so ill and had so much pain that I could not see any ways out. And if it wasn’t for Norsk Borreliose Senter, who could test and prove that my sufferings was caused by lyme disease and give me correct medications, I would most likely not have been alive today.

Both the tests and treatments of lyme disease is a well discussed topic in both public and private hosptials and clinics in Norway and around the world at the moment. On Friday the 10th and Saturday 11th of May there will be demonstrations held in 28 countries to raise awareness, information and discussions with politicians to better the conditions and help for people suffering from this terrible illness.  In Oslo both Jordan Fisher Smith and our very own wildlifeman Lars Monsen will be speaking in front of the parliament. Lars Monsen is still batteling lyme disease himself, and knows just how difficult it is to have a disease which the public health system does not know how to neither test or treat properly.

Meeting the public health system is not easy. Only 1 1/2 years ago I was a healty, fit and active mother of 2, farm wife and business owner. In short time I was transformed into a shadow of myself; exhausted, struggeling to keep myself standing up with enormous amounts of pain, and in need of help to do even the simplest tasks in life.

When trying to discuss the problems with my doctor she kept returning to the same phrase “oh, you should not stress so much”, and kept offering me antidepressants. After waiting for 3 months to see a rheumatologist, I did, of couse, have some expectations. I was in his office for less that 15 minutes, he pushed a few places on my body and asked if it hurt, told me I had fibromyalgia and that I should go home and get a good night sleep. This just points to the difficulties of getting the correct diagnosis.

But when I finally received help at Norsk Borreliose Senter, it took only 2 weeks on antibiotics before I started  feeling better. Now, 2 months after starting the treatment, I am still getting better, slowly but surely, improving a little week by week. And as the sun and warmth of spring is brightening up our days on the farm, I hope to be at least well enough to have the energy to be present for my children this summer.

Another side of receiving treamtent for lyme disease, is that as long as one is not treated in the public health systems, but private clinics, it becomes a very costly affair. Many people have difficulties covering their expenses, both for the consultations and the medications, and the public system covers none of these.

So what can we do? As the Norwegian public health system does not approve of this extensive use of antibiotics (same as in many other countries), there is no treatment for people suffering from long time lyme disease.  Not even the tests used in the public health system gives accurate results to find out weather or not the patient is actually suffering from lyme disease. In a country as wealthy as Norway I find it quite incredible that we do not have a health system to care better for lyme disease patients. And I would love to be in Oslo on the 10th of May to take part in the gathering. Unfortunately my health does not allow for this far travelling quite yet. But I would like to encourage everybody who is able to make it to these demonstrations  – no matter where you are in the world – to take part and help make our health systems better.

I would also like to thank Lars Monsen for the fantastic work he is doing by shining a light on the situation of so many people suffering from lyme disease. By showing what it is really like to have a disease no one can see – and the doctors can’t test. Making the politicians have to see how difficult it can be for an ill person to get proper medical treatment in Norway.

Would you like to know more? Or wondering if you have lyme disease? You can find a lot of useful information at Norsk Lyme Borreliose-Forening‘s website. Norsk Borreliose Senter can certainly help, and it is also possible to take a test directly through BMLab in Oslo.

Otherwise you will find that Lars Monsen updates his blog with information. Jordan Fisher Smith also has information on lyme disease, especially his documentary film Under Our Skin is worth checking out.

And last, but not least; my personal recommendation for pain management for everyone  suffering from lyme disease or other pain related illnesses: Aloe Heat Lotion. This heat lotion penetrates deep into you skin and soothes and relaxes your muscles. I personally find it great to use before bedtime for a relaxing feeling and a better chance for a good night sleep. Based on natural aloe vera, this is no medical ointment, it’s purely natural without side effects, for a littel pain relief.

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