Lyme stinks. Chronic Lyme really stinks. It’s a battle every day to survive. And each day I put on my war clothes and fight. At night, my war clothes remain within arm’s reach because more often than not I battle during the night hours as well. It’s exhausting. There are no other warriors to relieve me. It’s my fight and mine alone. My body is worn, my spirit weak.
For one month, I was too sick and weak to leave the house. And somehow I contracted Tonsillitis. Needless to say, I threw up my hands in despair. Why? How? How in the world did a germ find me within the safety of the trenches? I felt defeated. My throat grew worse daily. White, red, and painful. The battle, already hot and furious, became impossible to bear. I needed relief. And now.
Because I first thought it was the nasty cold that was going around, I didn’t realize it was anything more until about a week in. My throat was awful and I felt even sicker than usual. We called my doctor and he prescribed Azithromycin which is the antibiotic I tolerate best. The first day of taking it was the worst day of my sore throat. I was about to lose my mind from the pain. I was practically inhaling throat-numbing lozenges (which I hate), gargling with salt water (which makes me gag), applying heat to the outside of my throat, and trying to drink a lot (which is very difficult when it feels like you’re being shot in the throat every time you swallow).
The pain just kept escalating. One night I was in tears and my mom went out to try to find something that would help more than the dozen or so products I’d already tried. The pharmacist had her get three different products to create a GI cocktail that I’d taken once before in the emergency room years ago. I remember hating the feeling of total numbness in my mouth (then for Gastritis) and at that time it didn’t work for my stomach pain. Nevertheless, Mom mixed it up and I gargled the solution a couple times, trying my best to reach the spot that was the most painful without swallowing it. Go liquid Lidocaine! Do you thing! But it was as if it numbed my entire mouth and throat and left that little spot that hurt so badly. I was taking high doses of prescription pain meds and even that didn’t touch it. I decided that if it was still as bad by morning I was going to take Motrin, whatever the consequences.
I’m not able to take anti-inflammatory medication due to the severity of my Gastritis, which I still have. When I had Mononucleosis in 2010, I took so many for my pain and terrible sore throat over several months that I developed Gastritis for the first time. But I remember at that time that the Motrin helped my sore throat more than anything else. And again, I was desperate for relief. Even if it meant my Gastritis would flare up. I was ready to swap one pain for another. Those are the kind of deals we with chronic pain have to accept. It doesn’t mean the pain will be any less but it will be in a different place, thereby giving us the concept of relief. One battle down, another raging on.
But the antibiotic went to work and I remember waking during the night and noticing my throat was less painful. The line of song “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…” ran through my head. By morning, my throat was far less painful. However, my tonsils remained white. For a while. After completing that course of treatment, I then ended up on Penicillin because it just wasn’t going away. That worked pretty well, though each pill made me nauseas. I ended up not finishing the Penicillin, which was a big mistake. My sore throat came back and after a trip to my ENT doctor, a diagnosis of acute Tonsillitis and another order of Penicillin which I then completed, I finally felt better.
Now I feel back to “normal”. The “normal” that includes living with Chronic Lyme, Myoclonus, POTS, Epstein-Barr, Hypothalamus Dysfunction, Polyneuropathy, PCOS, and of course, chronic full-body pain. That’s my “normal.” And I’m so glad to be back to it!1