On Tuesday, April 23rd, at 8:30 pm, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, I had the scare of my lyme life.
We had been driving that day from the first leg of our vacation in Fort Lauderdale to Orlando, to start our Disney adventure with the kids. After arriving in the afternoon, we immediately hit the pool where we swam, sun bathed, and enjoyed the poolside games. We also enjoyed the resort grounds, teaming with waterbucks, antelopes, giraffes and zebras! We refueld with a great Aftrican-themed dinner at the resort’s Boma restaurant–great african inspired cuisine made complete for me with the addition of an ice cold gluten free beer, called Omission. Omission. If only I could omit you Borrelia, if only!!
We were winding down for the evening, chilling at the arcade, then the hotel balcony. This is where things started moving in slow motion. Slow. Agonzing. Terrifying. Motion.
I came in from the balcony to get the kids pajamas out. I bent over a suitcase, and suddenly felt my leg fold from under me. It was a bizarre folding sensation. More like my leg was melting. Oh, I thought. Something is terribly wrong, terribly. This slow, warm, numb rush slithered up my leg, as it went numb. I moved, hoping to shake it off. Then my arm was under the same gripping spell and I fell to the floor, unable to move my entire left side. Then my neck and head succumbed, it was like weights were tied to me. I felt like my entire left side had melted to the floor and left me in a puddle like the wicked witch of the west. Only you were the only wicked witch of the west that day Borrelia. The wicked witch of the west, east, north south…and every direction in between. Only I didn’t know it yet.
I screamed out, in disbelief of what was happening. “I’m having a stroke, I’m having a stroke!!!” I screamed out to my husband, banging at him on the glass door to the balcony. All the while my kids terrified and panicked. I thought I was going to die that night, in front of them. I was struggling not to pass out and in disbelief and full panic mode. I can’t believe I might leave them motherless, I cried, this can’t be happening.
The paramedics arrived. “Can you move your left foot?” They asked. No, I could not. “Can you lift your left arm above your head?” they asked. No. I could not. This was not looking good for me. They agreed they needed to bring me to the ER, it may be a stroke. At this time Borrelia, there was nothing in my mind that pointed to you. I had been going about my life just fine. Ended my lyme treatements 4 months ago. Feeling fine. Dizzy. Buzzy feet. Twitchy. Just the norm stuff. It never occurred to me you had joined our little family vacation in such a big, uninvited way.
At the hosptial, they immediately did a chest xray to rule out a blood clot to the lungs. Followed by an EKG. Then a cat scan. Then bloodwork for a heart attack. All the while I just cried and sat and prayed. I could not believe my new reality might be that I had just had a stroke. I thought of all my neightbors, friends, coworkers and family I ‘d have to tell and I felt embarrassed and hopeless. But that was only if I made it through the night I thought. God, please let me make it. I won’t leave my kids, I won’t. Why was this happening I kept asking out loud with my husband holding my hand. I take such good care of my self. In damn good running form. Eat excellent. Do everything right. Why was my body failing me?? The stress was going to kill me if a stroke didn’t first.
The first round of tests ALL came back normal, an instant burst of relief. But I was admitted over night for observation. They had ruled out a heart attack and major stroke, but I needed an MRI to rule out a TSI, transient ischemic attack, or mini stroke. Dammit, I wasn’t in the clear yet. Nor would I be for the next 14 hours, which is how long it took them to get me the MRI.
I did nothing but sat motionless in my bed. Waiting. Didn’t watch tv. Didn’t talk. Didn’t sleep. Didn’t eat. Just waited. I saw three doctors. The first two didn’t even hear me say “I have lyme disease”. Well, they chose not to, as you would imagine. But the third. He was like a prince charming of sorts. Young. Compassionate. Calming. And when I told him I had lyme, he nodded his head in understanding. In UNDERSTANDING!!! “Well, then” he said assuredly and sweetly, “this could certainly be in the realm of lyme”! WHAT?! A mainstream MD just acknowledged and understood and agreed lyme could be a suspect? In fact, he believed it was the case, even before my MRI results came back. He even could barely wait to be informed of the results, almost just to confirm his suspicion. God Bless this kind hearted, open minded professional. For the first time I felt some hope. I called my lyme ND on her personal phone. She assured me she had seen this type of response before and would get me back into her office to figure out our next plan of attack. God Bless her too. I told her I loved her and hung up the phone.
MRI negative!! MRI freakin’ negative!! No mini stroke either! I could have jumped up on my hospital bed and performed “The Little Mermaids’s Magical Voyage Musical” right then and there! I was so happy and so relieved!! Walked out of that hospital cursing Borrelia but at the same time, thankful it was just that and nothing else! I was going back to the hotel to see my kids!!!!!
Next day we shake rattled and rollercoastered our way ALL over the Magic Kingdom!! Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain! Sure, I was a little leary. And weak. And dizzy. I had to laugh, wondering if all this jarring and jostling and twisting and turning on all the rides was going to shake up Borrelia all over my body and make things worse….or scare her away! HA! I didn’t care! I didn’t have a stroke and I was going to have fun and enjoy and show the kids mom was tough and nothing was going to spoil our fun!
Okay, so maybe I over did it that day. Just a little. Next day, I had to tame Hollywood studios from a wheel chair (see pic of me from my wheelchair). And during each show, when the lights dimmed, I wondered is that me or the lights? Was I about to pass out? When air conditioning blew on my legs, I wondered if it was the air or if I was going numb and limp again. With each step, I wondered if I would fall. Yes, Borrelia. It’s always hard to know with you. But screw you. I wasn’t going to let it stop me. Despite the fear and discomfort and dizziness and weakness. And by the way. Speaking of Hollywood Studios. I am the Director of me. Not you.
And the smiles on my kids faces, the smiles!! But my poor daughter. Asking me if I can smile for her about every 5 minutes. She was checking to see….if I was having a stroke. How could you scare her like that, Borrelia, how could you?
And so I have returned. To NH. To begin another work week tomorrow. To await an appt. with my lyme ND next week. Here I go again. On that roller coaster of lyme. Hey Borrelia. Mickey Mouse called. He doesn’t want to see your kind of roller coasters at Disney World ever again. Ever. WTF.