Diva ́s case is unique between Lyme patients: she remembers the bite moment and the red stain in her body, the eritema migrans, which is often the first Lyme symptom. However, at that moment she did not know the reason. She started a vital path that was confronted with a fighting and nonconformist attitude.
How has it been since the bite?
I got bitten in 2017 even though I noticed that the stain was a symptom of a tick bite. I was doing a photo shoot. When I leaned on some bushes, I felt something was biting me. I touched it. They were tiny balls that I took off with my hand thinking they were plants or seeds that prickled. After two days, it continued prickling, but at that moment, I thought it was an allergic reaction to those plants.
Did you suffer another symptom?
Yes. Since that day, I have felt sick. In my case, it was strange because I am strong. I started suffering heart problems, pain in the hands thinking it was due to the gym, or headaches due to stress. When symptoms were painful I resorted to the physician. He told me it was due to stress. The answer was the same when digestive problems started, but I have always eaten healthy. All my symptoms were increasing, but they didn’t believe me. Everything was very strange to me because I have strong health. Despite the pain I suffered, in the beginning, I accepted the stress answer because my life was very stressful.
When did you realise it could be another thing?
On 1 August 2018, my body collapsed. My stomach was burning. I felt irrational pain. I lost 7 kilos in a week, my hair was falling, and even sitting down I felt weak. When I had the strength to attend the doctor they didn’t give importance to it. I started investigating. I discovered that intestinal candidiasis coincides with my symptoms. The doctor told me that didn’t exist. It was frustrating talking to a physician with studies and refute a disease. I continued the doctor’s protocol. I improved a little. After a time, I relapsed returning to the doctor. They gave me some tests, but nothing was discussed. I continued searching for information. I found a video talking about Lyme in a way that matched what I was going through. I went back to my doctor.
Was then when you were diagnosed?
No, only four associated symptoms match in my physician ́s reference book. One was rheumatoid arthritis. He couldn’t understand I had this illness. It made me notice that they weren’t giving me more analytics because they couldn’t assure me it was Lyme. In any case, they gave me a resonance, HIV tests, varicella tests, and many others from internal medicine. It wasn’t until I contacted a specialised Lyme center that they diagnosed me. My body was uncontrolled. I had other affections apart. Intestinal candidiasis, porcine intestine, helicobacter, or the chickenpox virus, which had also been activated.
Since 2017, when you started feeling sick, what changes have occurred in your life?
I had a very active life. I am a competitive athlete training 3 hours per day, walking to every place, taking my daughter to school, and studying until I couldn’t. If I did some effort, the pain was stronger. Eating was getting more difficult for me; drinking a glass of water was fatal. I felt like my body stopped working to the point of ending up in bed. I recovered in two or three days. I was encouraged to take my daughter to school walking and I ended up in bed again. Although I tried to surpass myself, it was like a punishment. I ended up resigning myself, deciding not to do anything. I couldn’t ́t be in charge of my daughter, that destroyed me emotionally. You enter into a depression unknowing the reason. These diseases affect the brain and mood. The worst thing about it is what happens inside your head.
Time has passed. As you thought it was Lyme and not stress, how do you feel currently?
I have an appointment soon to see if the “bug” as I call it, is dead. I feel much better, but I still have hypersensitivity to stress. I am strong. I am a competitive athlete. I have a daughter. I study, I can sleep little to do everything, I am unstoppable. Now any stressful situation affects my health, I die. I suppose this is a consequence of Lyme, but I am finishing the treatment. I am under observation to see how my body evolves. On the other hand, I feel better now. If I control the stress, I can move on. I can study, run the house… I still can’t go to the gym to train, but every day I can do a little more.
You commented you were finishing the treatment, was it hard?
I am used to training three hours per day. I follow a strict diet. I am disciplined, so I get on with it. The hardest issue was to control timetables to administer all the medicines, mainly to move to take the treatment or separate during a month from my daughter not being able to talk to her because I was very sick.
What perspectives do you have now?
I feel more encouraged. The first moment they diagnosed me with Lyme, I felt happy thinking “Now I know what I have”. I see I’m better now, that the things I had been corrected and that I have to be patient, my body has to recover from all the disease damages.
What have you missed from the professionals?
I consider that family doctors should be limited. They need to have time to hear others and realise the necessary tests. Lyme encounters many signs. Depending on how you are, the illness affects you in a way or another. With their closed mind, they miss many people.
What do patients need?
The most important issue is the early diagnosis. It would be great for some more empathy and emotional support. It is hard for us to know you are sick. They answer you with stress. The fact of noticing there is a disease and a pain behind is crucial. I would love to educate people if what they see is a bite or strange stain. They have to fight. I have shared my experience on social media. It makes me feel good. I am experiencing something positive it depends on my mental force.