Hi, I’m Melody and my new goal in life is to improve the treatment of Lyme Disease in Louisiana. I am an Family Nurse Practitioner Student, a Lyme Patient & Warrior!
Currently, in Louisiana there is one Lyme Literate Doctor – his name is Dr. Forrester. He has agreed to share his wealth of knowledge with me, so that I can better treat Lyme patients in Southeast Louisiana upon graduation. This means lots of travel, his office is in Pineville and I live in Saint Francisville.
This is my Lyme story:
I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, During my teen years I used long distance / cross country running as a coping mechanism that carried over to my days at the University of Calgary and after my move to Louisiana. No one can tell me for how long I have had Lyme Disease, all they say it has been a very, very long time.
Being the great imitator I have suffered from various ailments for decades. These signs and symptoms were always attributed to some other cause and never given to much concern because I always bounced back. The only lingering condition I’ve had is endometriosis, so severe my husband and I are unable to have children. So with that change in life plan in 2012, I applied and was accepted to a Local Nurse Practitioner Program. By October 2013, chronic illness had taken control of every aspect of my life.
Over the years, I have been terminated from jobs as a registered nurse and asked to leave two others. I have been accused by my supervisors of malingering, faking being sick and written up for using my sick time and being on FMLA. Like most Lyme patients, I have been accused of Doctor shopping and antibiotic drug seeking (who knew there was such a thing). After being told it is time to learn to live with IT – what ever IT was because no one had taken the time to find any answers. IT apparently was depression and generalized anxiety as I left my former healthcare providers office with a prescription for Lexapro. During this time, I was bed bound, unable to think; read; follow a TV program due to my non-existent attention span. I could no longer carry on a conversation with my husband, I had become 10 second Tom from “50 First Dates”.
Lyme and it’s co-infections invaded my brain (thought I had early onset Dementia); my nervous system (severe vertigo and MS symptoms); my heart (resting HR was 180’s); my kidneys (3 Lithotripsy’s in 4 months); and my joints & feet.
Through the grace of God, my fight goes on. God’s intervention led me to my amazing school advisor Dr. Laurie Anne Ferguson. With her encouragement, I did not accept being told to learn to live with IT! My health care team also includes an awe-inspiring Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine – Dr. Amanda Lea who in April of 2013 diagnosed my Lyme Disease; an amazing immunologist – Dr. Richard Guillot, an incredible pulmonologist – Dr. Gomez; and the best cardiophysiologist – Dr. Ravi Kanagala. These professional took me at my word, they have never stopped believing in me and have been 100% supportive of Dr. Forrester’s (my Lyme Literate Doctors) plan of care. My goal is make my patient feel the same way once I graduate and enter primary care practice.
Thank you for reading my Lyme story, unfortunately the next Lyme story could be yours or someone you love because – Lyme Lives Everywhere
Yours in health promotion,