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Memoirs of a Tick Victim
Five months ago recently, out of the blue,
I spontaneously fell ill,
From November second until this day,
My condition has exacerbated downhill.
I saw several doctors in that first week of illness,
I was asked about my symptoms, examined from head to toe,
And thoroughly poked and prodded by cold gloved hands,
But my diagnosis, doctors didn’t know.
“Does this hurt when I press it?” “How about here?”
“Let’s check your vital signs, please.”
Two blood samples, two doctors’ visits, and one week later,
I was diagnosed with Lyme disease.
Initially I was afraid of this verdict,
I was astonished that I had Lyme,
I didn’t recall a tick or a bulls eye bruise anywhere on my body,
Evidently one stealthily bit me sometime.
Fatigue, lethargy, weakness and weariness,
Are factors that slow me down everyday,
I feel feeble and incapable of many typical physical tasks,
But I won’t allow this corporal weakness to get in my way.
Doctors prescribed me antibiotics,
They made recovery sound easy,
“One pill twice a day, you’ll heal within weeks,”
But this medicine just makes me feel queasy.
These pills are blue and bullet-sized,
I gag when they get lodged in my throat,
They cause stomach aches and nausea,
I question this Lyme antidote.
My appetite has dwindled significantly,
Which in turn makes me feel weak,
Carbs are especially dire for a Lyme patient,
But when hungry, bread and pasta are what I seek.
The quality of my condition,
Varies from day to day,
My stipulations are inconsistent,
Suitable words to describe my feelings are hard to say.
It’s hard to even gauge my feelings now,
Because I don’t know what to compare them to,
I’ve lost my standard of comparison from ailing for weeks,
When feeling indisposed, I just hope I make it through.
Because my capacity and symptoms vary so frequently,
My illness is exceedingly inconsistent,
Sometimes I don’t even know how I feel,
Because I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be 100%.
It’s especially discouraging and daunting,
To not be able to do what I used to be capable of,
I’m now tremendously languid and torpid,
I can’t easily do all the things I love.
I look completely fine at first glance,
That’s deceiving: the problem lies inside,
The nausea, discomfort and dissuasion are invisible,
Along with tears of frustration that remain uncried.
I’m terrified of this disease I have,
For fear of the unknown,
The symptoms differ with each patient and I don’t know what to expect,
I’m scared; I feel alone.
This extreme lack of routine drives me crazy,
I can’t consistently show up to prior commitments,
I don’t know, until last minute, whether I’ll feel well enough to attend,
Which makes my schedule incoherently intermittent.
I fret that I’ve let people down,
By not showing up to where I’ve promised,
I explain this unpredictable illness with sincerity,
Hoping they’ll believe I’m honest.
I fear that I’ve disappointed people,
By not being able to fulfill what they expect,
Significant adults, teachers, coaches, and mentors,
I want them to understand my circumstances and still earn their respect.
Extreme disappointment looms over me,
I feel detached, like a failure, and alone,
Not only have I failed to carry out obligations to others,
What hurts more is that I’ve broken promises of my own.
Having people to talk to really helps,
Be able to vent all my failures and tries,
This illness is as emotionally draining as it is physically,
Sometimes the most obliging thing to do is cry.
Because of one loathsome ravenous tick,
I was given this excruciatingly long term disease,
I anticipate the day I feel healthy;
The day my immune system sets me free.
During these past five weeks I’ve gained many lessons,
About determination and not giving up,
Through trial and hardship I just need to persist,
If it’s something I love enough.
I’ve been challenged by adversity and obstacles—both mental and physical,
But I’m not going to stop being who I want to be,
Yes, I do have Lyme disease,
But Lyme disease does not have me.