4 Things I Learned From A Tick Bite
Spending time in nature is one of the best gifts we could ever give ourselves. There is an offering from mother nature in every turn we take; from the fresh ocean air to the mountainous beauty. We are blessed to call Earth our home. Alongside the picture-perfect hills, glistening lakes, and green pastures lies tiny arachnids called ticks.
We have all heard of a tick and maybe have had one on us at some point. There are so many incredible hiking spots where I am from in California, and you can enjoy the outdoors year- round. Unfortunately while hiking, I was bit by a tick almost 10 years ago that infected me with a bacteria called Borrelia Hermsii very similar to Lyme Disease which is caused by the bacteria Borrelia Burgdorferi. This tick-borne illness made me very sick, and I was not well for an entire year until the proper diagnosis and treatment were received.
In that year, often spending a lot of time in bed from extreme fatigue amongst other symptoms, I learned several things.
1. You Can’t Always See Illness.
It was all I could do to go to work during the year of having a tick-borne illness. Coworkers could tell I was a little sluggish, but for the most part I could hide what I was feeling. I was able to cover up my memory issues by blaming it on a lack of sleep even though most nights I was getting 10-12 hours. With a decline in productivity I could blame it on a really busy day of interruptions. When I would lose my balance because of extreme dizziness I would say that my shoes weren’t fitting properly. I had an excuse for everything that manifested outward. To most people I looked like a perfectly healthy 27 year old, even though I felt like I was dying inside.
2. Illness Doesn’t Always Present The Same in People
Two people can have the same illness with the same symptoms but for one person the symptoms may be more severe or pronounced. It was a colleague that I confided in that ultimately referred me to his doctor because my symptoms were very similar to what he had been experiencing six months prior. He didn’t have every symptom that I had but enough to point me in the right direction. Turns out he had a tick-borne illness as well.
3. There Are Wonderful Doctors
There was one incredible doctor that took the time to listen to me cry. He ran the proper tests and yes there was a reason for everything that I was experiencing. This doctor was willing to put on his detective hat and put in the time to find out what was wrong with my body. He could’ve easily shooed me away with a prescription or a referral for therapy (which other doctors did) but he didn’t. Instead he chose to save my life.
4. Support Groups Are A Great Form Of Support
Any form of support for the most part is generally good. Family and friends could sympathize but those that could truly empathize were the ones who were dealing with the same thing. Exchanging information with those who also had a tick-borne illness not only made the treatment sessions more bearable but it also allowed me to connect and help others through a difficult time. It has taken a lot to build back up the confidence to get back out in nature. I am a lot more aware and cautious about where I walk and hike, but it still doesn’t stop me from enjoying all the benefits mother nature has to offer. We can run and hide from our fears or we can acknowledge them and not let it stop us from living our life.
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