Faces of Lyme: Erin's Story
Hi, my name is Erin.
I spent the last two decades of my life in a brutal limbo, unable to find a diagnosis for a devastating illness. Unfortunately, even now that I know what this is, I don't have the funds to pay for treatment.
Once, I was a gymnast and a soccer player, but when I was eight years old, I started to develop strange and debilitating symptoms. It started with small tremors and severe headaches, then I began blacking out, and finally losing consciousness altogether. My body started to exhibit violent muscular tremors, and severe arm and leg pain. By the time I was thirteen, my life in sports was over.
I am now 27.
I have spent 19 long years - practically my entire life - in and out of hospitals and taking up to 30 pills a day. After countless misdiagnoses and false hopes, I have finally been correctly diagnosed with Borreliosis (a type of bacterial infection) and it has spread to my brain and nervous system.
It began with a tiny tick bite, and has managed to infect my brain, heart, ovaries, liver, and most of my muscle tissue. Every day, I struggle to function with constant, excruciating pain. I have not been able to hold a job for two years now. I tried selling Mary Kay cosmetics to support myself and pay my medical bills, but in the last 10 months I haven't even had the stamina to do that.
When I can get out of bed, I use a cane or wheelchair to get around. Lately, I have begun to hallucinate, develop terrifying delusions, and forget who or where I am. This is not only a horrifying experience for me, but also for my family and friends. Most of them have fled from the magnitude of my problems, or they simply refuse to believe that anyone could feel this bad and still be alive.
So, I turn to you for help. I need money to cover my medical costs and some basic, essential living costs until I am able to go back to work. For example, medicine alone is anywhere between $300-900 a month. Each doctor's appointment is $201 and I have to go roughly once per month. My rent and utility bills run about $600 a month.
I have applied for food stamps, but I won't know if I qualify for another few weeks. I have applied for disability and am working on getting Medicaid. I am behind on medical bills already, due to my inability to work. To stay on top of those payments and continue with treatment, I need at least $2,000 a month.
All I want is to heal and get on with my life. However, I can't do that when I'm struggling to simply keep a roof over my head. I know that with this disease, the longer I postpone treatment, the more damage will be done, and the harder it will be to recover. I fear that organ failure, or other permanent issues could develop.
I have dreams of someday founding a theatre company. I do not want to give up, even on the days when it seems like my only option. This is why I am asking for help. I know if I get treatment, I can be not only okay, but successful in life.
--Written by Erin
Edited by Ginger
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Would you like to contribute to Erin and help her pay for treatment?
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If you would like to see your story included in Lemon & Lyme's Faces Of Lyme, please email Ginger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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