Monday, September 5, 2016

The truth is....I have Lyme

There. I said it.

I finally have been gotten over the shame I have associated with having this disease that I did not choose. I finally have started opening up to people. For one, to have the support.  Secondly, to raise awareness and support others through it.

I have felt like I have been held up to some standard of perfection- in regards to my body, diet...well, everything. I have never claimed to be perfect and I am far from perfect. I felt like if I shared with others, they would see me as less of a nurse practitioner, mother, wife and friend. But then I realized that was the enemy trying to steal my joy, steal my passion: to help others heal.

For many years I had found my identity in how many miles I could run. How many workouts I could accomplish. What the scale showed. And then none of that was possible when I got Lyme.

It's kind of funny. I struggled with an eating disorder for so long.  Looking back, I always thought that would be the hardest battle I have ever faced. But see, I chose my eating disorder.

I did not choose Lyme.

I decided to share after having known I had the disease since March 2016, though I knew something was wrong prior to that.  I share not to get any attention nor sympathy, but to hopefully help to minister to others. It has been in the last year that I have met MANY people with Lyme and I know awareness is key. Honesty and vulnerability is important.

About 2 1/2 years ago I started having neck pain. I didn't think anything of it. Having always been a runner and athlete, I just "shrugged off" injuries and as a nurse, I stubbornly did not want to do anything for myself- I was busy taking care of others and halfway through grad school. It is important to mention here that I never recall being bitten by a tick nor having a rash (most people don't).

The neck pain was intermittent and lasted about two months.  Then I got the TDAP vaccine for school and within a week I had flu-like symptoms, terrible muscle pain, anxiety and insomnia.

That was just the beginning.

I immediately cut out gluten, dairy, soy, caffeine and sugar from my diet.  Several MRIs and doctor appointments later (which included naturopaths), I never felt any better.  My Western Blot, along with all my other bloodwork, was negative (which I later learned is normal for the majority with Lyme).  Each day, working 13 hour shifts was excruciating painful. I flew to Maine for a class for school and the pain I encountered after that flight was worse than giving natural childbirth. I did not know what to do. Worse, I felt like everybody around me thought I was crazy to have these "new" symptoms.  I lost several "friends" and felt like my life was spinning out of control.  I saw a rheumatologist in August who printed out for me an article about fibromyalgia, explaining "this often happens to other white girls in their 20s under  a lot of stress like you." I kid you not.

Little did I know in August that I was actually pregnant with my dear son- my precious miracle, Jace Alexander.  It was around Labor Day 2014 that I realized I had been nauseas for about a week and my breasts were tender.  I took a pregnancy test and much to my horror (yes, thats exactly how I HONESTLY felt) I found out I was pregnant. My heart sunk.  I felt like it was the worse time of my life and now God was preparing me for this?

Interestingly, my symptoms would disappear within the next two months.  I continued on a very strict paleo diet and returned to running and yoga, my two loves. I continued grad school, and I prayed that whatever I experienced was a fluke.  I prayed for my son, who I fell in love with and learned to cherish as my pregnancy continued.  I knew God had a reason and purpose for everything, even if I didn't know it yet. I asked God for healing. He told me, "Lindsay, I have already healed you."

My pregnancy was perfect. I treated my body like the temple God created it to be. I was probably healthier than I ever had been and I felt great. I nourished and treasured every moment. My delivery was beautiful, and I accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish. My son was healthy and breastfed easily.

In the months that followed, I continued to feel great. I was gentle and forgiving on my body, but I did return to running. I started the strict AIP (autoimmune protocol) diet postpartum (not to lose weight but for overall health) and engaged in placenta encapsulation.  It was 6 months postpartum following 20 minutes of acupuncture that I experienced my first "flare." A week of muscle cramps and achiness made it clear something was still wrong.

I would continue to have a flare lasting maybe a week at a time every couple months. When I found out I had Lyme in March (the day after I passed my nurse practitioner exam), I immediately started detoxing and rebuilding nutrients in my body. I was on a quest to heal my leaky gut.  I detoxed for 6 months before starting to aggressively treating Lyme. I do better than most, which I am very thankful for, but I also know one day I will have complete healing. I help others with Lyme now and I look forward to helping more. I do believe God has had me go through this to be able to help others.  With a million new cases of Lyme disease diagnosed every year, I believe there is much more of a need in the medical community.

So it is true I completely believe Lyme has now made me a better practitioner, wife, friend and mother. It has allowed me to be more compassionate towards others- because I know what it feels like to have gone through insomnia, muscle and joint pains, fatigue and basically not being able to do the things you want to do sometimes because you are addressing illness.  I know there is a ROOT cause to every disorder, syndrome and symptom. It is not in your head.  I know what works and doesn't work, because as an integrative nurse practitioner I have had to do almost EVERY treatment and test I have instructed my patients to do.

In fact, Lyme has made me in many ways healthier than I have ever been. I treat my body WAY better with Lyme than when I was a competitive runner, when I had my eating disorder, when I was traveling all over the world.  I learn something new everyday, and I am so very passionate to help others heal.

So there, I said it. I got it off of my chest. And I already feel so much better. I know every day I get closer to being completely healed (it is a long journey, as treating most things with the body holistically). And in the process, my faith has grown and drawn me closer to God.  Believe it or not, I am a much happier and joyful person than I was 2 years ago, and I know that is God.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9

Be blessed today. Enjoy the journey God is writing for you, no matter where it takes you. His plan and purpose for you may be different than what you expected, but He will take you to it and bring you through it.  Your health is a precious gift, and should be treated and honored as so.

I am excited to relaunch this blog and share a myriad of recipes, treatments and articles that will help you heal, as they have helped me. You are NOT alone. Feel free to comment or email me at lindsay.tuttle@hotmail.com if you have a question or need specific prayer, and I will pray for you. You got this and don't think for a minute you don't!







Blessings,

Lindsay

Disclaimer: While I do treat patients with Lyme, I do not advise undergoing a treatment plan by yourself or with guidance from a Lyme-literate practitioner.  I do have someone oversee everything I do and additional alternative treatments. I cannot recommend antibiotics exclusively for treatment of chronic Lyme.

1 comment:

  1. Hey girl! I'm enjoying reading your blog! I saw on facebook that you were going to be blogging and when I clicked on your link I just read your post here.
    First off I am inspired by you.
    Second, my heart goes out to you having to face this strain on your health. I agree with you that your sharing brings glory to the ultimate Healer! If anyone has equipped themselves to pursue holistic health, I'd say it is you!
    Thanks for sharing so much of yourself in your writing.

    ReplyDelete

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