LymeLight Foundation Grant Recipient, TylaTyla – Wanting to Give Back

My life was a dream come true. Throughout high school I worked hard, both in school and on the volleyball court, and was rewarded by getting into my first-choice university. College was great: I was surrounded by friends, I had a high GPA, was playing college volleyball and ended up being Rookie of the Year. In November of 2014, right around my 19th birthday as my first semester of college was coming to a close, I started to feel something was wrong. I couldn’t place it, but something in my gut told me this wasn’t going to be a good birthday—I ranted about not wanting to turn 19, even cried about it. This was not like me. Usually I looked forward to birthdays and getting older, but something was off. And that is when I went down for the count and haven’t fully recovered since.

Suddenly my dream turned into a nightmare. I was struggling with debilitating fatigue and neurological issues. I was trying to get through my second semester of college, thinking it was just mono. But I didn’t get better. So, I decided to take a year off of school to recover. Doctors refused to believe I was sick because I looked okay. Finally, after a year of testing and seeing specialists, I received a CDC positive test for Lyme in December of 2015. I have taken herbs, done homeopathy and cold laser therapy, and visited many doctors trying both holistic and traditional protocols in order to heal. My one year off from school became two and a half.

The LymeLight Foundation stepped in and really helped out. I found the organization when medical bills were getting overwhelming. I have been able to afford new treatment opportunities while taking some of the financial burden off of my single mom and me. I’m not 100% health-wise, but I know without a doubt that I will get through this, and a big part of that is thanks to the grant I received from this foundation.

Last spring, I started going back to school at my dream university. It wasn’t quite what I had imagined, commuting to a non-commuter school twice a week and taking three classes. But it was moving forward in the right direction.

Amazingly enough, this fall I was able to return to college full-time, living in the dorm and taking a full course load. I’m back in life–making friends and going to classes that I’m passionate about. It’s different than the first time around. I now have to pace myself, take the time to rest, and make sure I listen to my body and stick to doctor’s orders. The fact that I’m back on campus is a huge accomplishment, something that was unimaginable just a few years ago. When I tell people my story, of course the Lyme is a part of it, but I try not to let it be my identifier. Yes, I have Lyme, but I also have these many great qualities which are more defining of the person I am and the person I want to become.

Whenever people asked me what I wanted to be when I was younger, I didn’t have an answer. All I knew is that I wanted to help people. This is what LymeLight has done for me. I am so thankful. I know, as I get stronger, I will remember the kindness LymeLight Foundation gave me, and give back tenfold.

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