Life After Lyme // It took years until I was diagnosed and a seeming miracle to cure it

By Raizy Friedman

My earliest memory is vividly imprinted in my mind. I see a younger version of myself curled up on the floor of the hallway outside my parents’ room, crying bitterly. The hour was quite late, but I was awake for the umpteenth time that night. The shooting pains in my legs didn’t allow me to get any sleep. As a child, I spent part of every night in the comfort of my mother’s bed, her soothing words taking an edge off the pain.

As I take a trip down memory lane, waves of emotion flood my heart. All of the ups and downs of my childhood come back to me, and my eyes fill with tears when I wander back and revisit those years.

* * *

Whenever my parents reminisce about me as a little girl, there’s a sparkle in their eyes. As their long-awaited princess, born after a rowdy crew of six boys, I was their sunshine from the moment I was born, a bundle of positive energy.
It’s hard for my parents to pinpoint exactly when they started noticing a change in my behavior, as it was a gradual transformation. From a very young age, I regularly complained about aches and pains all over my body and couldn’t stand for long periods of time because my legs always hurt.

Whenever my parents took me out to a shopping mall, I whined that I had no strength to walk around. They would sometimes try to bribe me with a treat, but I begged them to take me home. My parents didn’t take this too seriously, figuring that I was simply a drama queen. As they were used to my older brothers, who never complained much about anything, they were sure that it was simply usual for girls to be kvetchy.

However, by the time I was five years old, it was obvious that something was wrong. I had gone from being a happy, carefree and joyous child to a sad little girl. Our local pediatrician chalked up my symptoms to growth spurts, which can sometimes cause recurring pain in the legs. When the symptoms persisted, he ordered a full round of bloodwork and performed other tests to rule out any serious medical conditions. They were thankful but confused when the results came back normal and I was given a clean bill of health.

As a young child, I assumed that everyone else was also experiencing physical pain. When I saw my friends energetically running around the playground, I marveled at their endurance, thinking how hard it must be for them!
I never entertained the notion that what I was going through wasn’t the norm, and rather than perceiving pain as a state of suffering, I thought it was the harsh reality of life.

My parents were brokenhearted as they watched their daughter, who had previously been full of life and energy, shrivel into herself. Over the years they took me to all kinds of specialists hoping to find the cause of my suffering. They were determined to get to the bottom of it and do whatever it took to make me well.

To read more, subscribe to Ami