I’m fortunate to have caught Lyme disease when I did. I was no longer broke and uninsured. I am in a supportive relationship that has only grown through my illness. I am now self-employed and currently one of 16.9 million people who are newly insured under the Affordable Care Act. I would not be able to undergo my current treatment without health insurance, that I was once denied because of my health history.
I feel scared in a country facing new uncertainties. All I want to do is burrow myself deeper into hibernation. I want to surround myself in whiskey, sloth videos and the new Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart cooking show. But I have been encouraged to speak up. I know not all of us share the same views.
When in college I travelled through India and Sri Lanka and brought home several parasites in my intestines. After treatment, I still experienced relentless digestive issues. They did extensive tests and put cameras every which way until eventually I had a diagnoses of Crohn's Disease. On the bright side, I ended up learning how to better care for myself. I altered my lifestyle, diet, stressors and kicked most of my digestive issues to the curb. Because of this history, I was denied health insurance.
Since Spring, I have been gearing up for a ferocious antibiotic treatment. I spent months before taking antibiotics, on probiotics, immune boosters and new prescription medications. My doctor wanted to get me to my strongest, most resilient place, in order to tolerate and benefit from the protocol as much as possible. We planned this in accordance with my farming season. I would be hitting the peak, the worst of it, in the non-production portion of my season. Here we are.
As the bacteria dies, it makes a lot of noise as it goes. This can manifest in headaches, nausea, heart palpitations, fever, rash and the general feeling of being run over by a small tractor trailer. There are many days when turning the pages of a book is too difficult.
Mepron is the generic name for a prescription anti-malarial that is a small part of my current antibiotic protocol. This drug is targeting the Babesia, a Malaria-like parasite that has shown positive in my blood work. It is a common co-infection to Lyme Disease. A tick is often not only carrying Borrelia (the Lyme bacteria) but a host of other bacterium that cause incredible damage. Somedays I take 9 different killing agents that target the various infections and mutations. We are constantly showing up with new moves, hoping to catch the boogers off guard in order to completely eradicate this disease.
Mepron, for example, one drug, without health insurance would cost me $1,298.88 for a 10 day supply. In many ways, I am lucky and Im not the only one. According to The Department of Health and Human Services, we have seen the largest reduction in the uninsured in four decades. I agree that the Affordable Care Act is not perfect but without it, millions of us would be left out sick and in the cold.
I watch the world crumble from my bed and there is so much I am inclined to do. I dream to volunteer, feed the hungry, clothe the cold, march, protest, roller skate. I want to make up a tiny bit for all of the hate, greed, racism and environmental neglect around us. Recently, I may have a few good hours a day. This is just enough time to read the news, fill prescriptions, call my mother. On a fantastic day I go to the store, cook a meal or go for an incredibly slow and painful walk with the best dogs in the world. I have begun planning my comeback tour. I know when I have energy again, where exactly I would like to put it, but the list is getting shorter, more efficient. My goals have become smaller and bigger all at the same time.