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Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Living With Lyme Disease

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You never know what you live amongst or what you're exposed to. Lyme disease is something we hear more frequently, but often played down. I am one that wishes I had educated myself and taken precautions.

I remember 4 years ago listening intently to a 22 year old co-worker as he shared his incredible battle with Lyme Disease. Words like "organ shut down," "paralysis," "15 different meds," "I.V.'s" and "hospitalization" made me recoil, upset and at the same time feeling extremely grateful I didn't have this complicated, hideous disease. But I did! At that very time, listening to this young man's plight, the same bacteria was going through my body, settling in the white matter of my brain, burrowing in behind my eyes, attacking my joints, my pancreas, my legs and feet. I had no idea. I thought I was healthy, safe, with a clean bill of health. Then in July of '08 I was bit by a nymph tick that carried Lyme and co-infections. Co-infections are horrible; there are many different types and they can crop up at any time, worsening the Lyme disease. Standard treatment was offered for a month. Remaining ill and manifesting new symptoms. Through a channel of people "in the know," I was directed to Dr. Harris in California. After testing and running tests I was informed that I have had Lyme disease anywhere from 1-10 years and indeed been re-infected.

Lyme disease compromises the central and peripheral nervous system. I've gone the road so many of those who suffer with this disease; from living with antibiotics, to daily and weekly shots and now being told I need multiple I.V.'s. Without insurance the cost has taken us down financially. The cost to fight this disease is extremely expensive.

It's difficult asking people for financial help, but sometimes we find ourselves with our back to the wall under intense circumstances. Churches and non-profits have graciously helped but are financially challenged as well and will not be able to continue, as the arrangement was for a limited time.

My husband walks and talks, but is 100% neurologically disabled and I have been the caretaker when needed. I'm writing this article in hopes of obtaining help from those in the community who understand and want to help. I desire that people will come up along side of me. If you are able to contribute there are collection spots located at all Columbia River Banks (Bend, Redmond) under Sue Hanlon Lyme Support. Thank you for any consideration and intent for my improvement.

Sue Hanlon, Bend


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