LymeLight Foundation Grant Recipient, JessicaJessica – Enjoying Life Again

In 2016, the summer before my senior year of high school, I began feeling unexplainably mentally and physically tired. The fatigue prevented me from participating in my fourth and final year on my high school’s tennis team. I did not pick up my racket again for a year. That fall, my fatigue worsened and other symptoms—i.e., headaches—surfaced. I began missing one to two days of school every week. Some mornings, I would drive to school and drive immediately back home, unable to face the day ahead.

Socializing became more difficult, as I grew very self-conscious. Social situations, even at family gatherings, became exhausting and uncomfortable. Additionally, my schoolwork was suddenly too much to bear and, as a diligent and hardworking student, this was a very confusing feeling. Disappointingly, I had to leave my high school’s two-year International Baccalaureate Programme, which would have granted me a prestigious diploma upon graduation.

I went to various doctors during this time and not one knew the cause of my symptoms. I also had a multitude of blood tests done, but none of the results were conclusive—even the Lyme disease tests came back negative. The only infectious disease doctor within my vicinity refused to acknowledge the possibility of my symptoms being related to Lyme disease. By this time I had swollen lymph glands on my neck, daily low-grade fevers and headaches, chills and gained weight.

In December 2016, I left school entirely and completed my graduation requirements from home. I spent every day at home on the couch in the dark, light-sensitive and completely exhausted. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the graduation ceremony due to my symptoms, but I did receive my diploma afterward. Later that month, I received my first diagnosis of Borreliosis and Bartonellosis at a local clinic with limited resources. I finally started to feel better after I switched to my current Lyme-literate physician in June 2017.

The grant has enabled me to reap the benefits of all aspects of treatment. As a result of treatment, the quality of my life has greatly improved. I no longer spend all day in a dark living room on the couch. I have been able to play tennis again and even exercise. Although there is still a large amount of progress to be made, my health has improved enough so that there is enjoyment in my life again. In January 2018, for example, I was able to begin my college career through taking online classes; I hope to attend college full-time next fall. I am unsure of a career path, but in any career I choose, I hope it has a positive impact.

My entire family and I are incredibly grateful to the LymeLight Foundation. My mother is a single mom, and this grant has relieved some of the financial burden that Lyme has created. My mom and I are in this together, and I know that together we will beat this! Thank you LymeLight for all that you do. We are forever grateful.

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