There once was a nurse named Melody…

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, 

                                         💚 Melody



About Lyme Lives EveryWhere

Angola Inmate Hospice volunteers taught me to trust God and the power of forgiveness. I have always been fascinated by how people 'discover' their gifts/callings. As a coping mechanism for a complicated home life; I liked to run outdoors regardless the weather. After University my running was curtailed due to mystery ailments that would flare up on-and-off for decades. Intuitively, I have been soaking in epsom salt baths ever since I became a runner. Perhaps that is what kept my immune system functioning for so long. In 2005, my mystery ailments returned. After a decade of suffering and symptom flare ups, I was told by health care practitioners to learn to live with what was ailing me. In 2013, my immune system shut down and resulted in a health crisis; ultimately saving my life. Tired of being sick and tired, by divine intervention I found an amazing advocate in Dr. Amanda Lea; an osteopathic physician in Zachary Louisiana. Two days before I found her, a friend put me on her church prayer list as I searched for answers. Dr. Lea was setting up a new practice and worked me in the day after the prayer chain started. She listened to my health history uninterrupted for 45 minutes. After my diagnosis, I went to see a Lyme experienced MD, the head of infectious disease at a large hospital in New Orleans. She opened the office door, walked in and proclaimed that "Lyme disease does not exist in Louisiana". That day my passion for Lyme awareness, education and advocacy was revealed to me.
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