Recovery is an interesting thing. For two years I spent my life searching for a diagnosis. Every few weeks I would pack up my medical journal and head to a new specialist’s office, hoping and praying for answers. Along the way we had our fair share of ups and downs, but nothing ever felt like it was final. We always felt like we were still searching.
That came to an end on a July evening in Maine when all of my symptoms could finally be explained. There was so much relief, and for the first time in what felt like ever, so much hope. I am unbelievably grateful about my relatively short quest for answers and how lucky I am to have access to, not only one, but two doctors who fully support my diagnosis and treatment — but that doesn’t make recovery easy.
For those new to Lyme there’s a process all patients go through during treatment called a Herxheimer reaction (or a herx for short.) Without getting too technical (brain fog y’all) when the Lyme & Co. Bacteria die they release toxins in your body that then circulate in your bloodstream and make you feel sick. Sometimes its mild, other times you feel worse than before treatment, but either way us lucky Lymey’s actually get to suffer twice.
The difficult part about this process for me is that whenever I’m in a bad herx I immediately doubt whether that’s what it is, or whether the treatment has just stopped working. There’s also a barrage of questions (well meaning I’m sure) that come along with a herx from onlookers about why I’m not cured yet. But the thing I have to keep reminding myself is that recovery is a journey, not a destination, with plenty of peaks and valleys along the way. The hope is that the good outweighs the bad while en route.
What are your coping methods when in a bad Herx? I’m currently daydreaming of a Sephora haul to get my mind off things.