Bloody Lymey

A Blog About Living with Lyme Disease

Can Lyme Disease Kill You?

on June 16, 2011

I remember a stunningly sunny July day in 2008. I limped and gimped from the parking garage to where I worked at the time. I saw two men I knew and they asked why I was walking funny. Newly diagnosed with lyme disease, I told them. At the time, I felt like “I GOT this.”

I was on antibiotics and had an appointment with a specialist. It was “just a bacterial infection,” went my attitude. Let’s not take this lightly: I knew it was a BAD bacterial infection. But some antibiotics? Some rest? I GOT this.

I remember one of the guys saying, “can you die from that?” With mouth agape, I stood there foolishly and stared at him. The older gentleman, Larry, with folded arms closed his eyes and nodded slowly.

Google agreed.

Some people die from alcoholism, but causes of death are listed as suicide, heart disease, cirrhosis …. and lyme disease is not at all dissimilar.

The number one cause of death for lyme patients IS suicide.

So … did I ever feel suicidal? No. But I definitely “get” how someone could. You do this slow-dance for years and it gets better and then worse and then marginally better and it plateaus. Some are never diagnosed and it NEVER gets better. Their quality of life diminishes. They can’t live. They just can’t. So what are the options? I get it. Unfortunately, I GET it.

I remember fearing that something would happen to me – an accident or an illness – and my survival would be contingent on how hard I was willing or able to work, how good my mental fitness was, how positive my attitude was. I knew that if something like that happened, I’d die. I didn’t have “it” anymore.

They say a human being can survive for 72 hours without water, 2 weeks without food, and a few moments without hope.

I try to find my hope anywhere and everywhere I can. I think of young people with cancer who are spending their last days in a nursing home. I think of people in the throes of addiction with no way out. I think of people on oxygen who can’t breathe. I thank God I’m not in their shoes. My shoes aren’t too comfortable, but they’ll do.

I hang on to the hope that a better day will come. I have had enough better days to know I haven’t seen the last of them. When things are very bad, I try to cling to anything that feels good whether it’s a hot bath, that warm fuzzy feeling a person gets when they’re drifting off to sleep, a hug, my son’s laugh, or a sip of cool fizzy soda. There’s always something, some indication of something better – even if it’s only a slight improvement over the moment before.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: